Environmental News from America:
- Many factors ranging from urban planning to materials used in construction, as well as the loss of blue and green cover, are responsible for the the Urban Heat Island (UHI) effect that causes variance in temperatures within neighbourhoods in a city.
- By recording temperatures of different neighbourhoods in New Delhi and in Mumbai, on a normal summer day in 2021, the article illustrates temperature variance within the cities.
- Built environment experts highlight the impact of urban development on the formation of Urban Heat Islands, the social inequalities of the impact and effective development strategies for the future of Indian cities.
The summer of 2022 has been particularly harsh all over India, with unrelenting heat spells signalling evolving climatic systems. With March being declared as the hottest in the India Meteorological Department’s 122-year recorded history and April being the third hottest since 1901, the news about the heatwave has captured wide attention.
The increase in heat, however, is not a one-off event, especially in urban areas due to a phenomenon known as Urban Heat Island (UHI) Effect which is “the relative warmth of a city compared to its surrounding rural areas”.
With 56.2 percent of the world’s population living in urban areas as of 2020, all that the cities comprise – materials used and their ability to absorb or reflect heat, designs of urban spaces and geometry that allow or block the passage of heat, presence or lack of ecological infrastructure such as trees, parks, wetlands and water bodies as well as sources of anthropogenic heat – play a significant role in the heating of urban spaces.
Based on how cities evolve, each neighborhood has its own mix of UHI-contributing factors in different proportions which leads to a variance in temperatures not only between the city and its surrounding areas but within a city as well.
In order to illustrate this phenomenon, we gathered data from different neighborhoods in Mumbai and Delhi, including their recorded minimum and maximum surface temperatures at a given time, on a regular summer day in 2021.
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