Urban Heat Island Effect

The "urban heat island effect" is a phenomenon created by urban surfaces such as pavements (like asphalt) and conventional roofs that absorb the Sun's energy and reradiate it as heat. This can increase the temperature of a city several degrees higher than that of surrounding rural areas. The additional heat generated by running air conditioners and machinery, and from vehicle exhaust further worsens the urban heat island effect.

In a NASA study conducted by Stuart Gaffin, an associate research scientist with the Earth Institute at Columbia University, he outlined two important reasons to be concerned about urban heat islands. The first reason is the established trend of the increase in numbers of city dwellers.

According to Gaffin, "About half the world's population—three billion people—now live in cities. In a couple decades, it's going to be five billion people."

He says that in developing countries people often migrate to cities not for economic reasons such as a lucrative job market or business opportunities, but because of crop failures, natural disasters (such as flooding or drought), or to escape warfare. Because of this, city dwellers

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