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Feeling the Heat
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January 18, 2017
Green Teacher

Originally appears in the Winter 2016 issue

Photographs: Susan Ferguson

There are now more than 300 cities in the world with more than one million inhabitants[1].  Many of the materials used to construct those cities do not reflect heat well, and thus increased urbanization has led to a world-wide phenomenon now known as the urban heat island[2].  Those materials absorb heat radiation and release it slowly back into the atmosphere[3].  As a result, urban communities can be as much as 20 degrees Fahrenheit (11 degrees Celsius) warmer than the surrounding rural communities[4]. This human-created temperature difference results in “islands” of heat surrounded by areas of undisturbed cooler temperatures.


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