Originally appears in the Winter 2016 issue
There are now more than 300 cities in the world with more than one million inhabitants. 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. Those materials absorb heat radiation and release it slowly back into the atmosphere. As a result, urban communities can be as much as 20 degrees Fahrenheit (11 degrees Celsius) warmer than the surrounding rural communities. This human-created temperature difference results in “islands” of heat surrounded by areas of undisturbed cooler temperatures.
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