Cities are almost always hotter than the surrounding rural area but global warming takes that heat and makes it worse. In the future, this combination of urbanization and climate change could raise urban temperatures to levels that threaten human health, strain energy resources, and compromise economic productivity.
Summers in the U.S. have been warming since 1970. But on average across the country cities are even hotter, and have been getting hotter faster than adjacent rural areas. (report continues below interactive)
With more than 80 percent of Americans living in cities, these urban heat islands — combined with rising temperatures caused by increasing heat-trapping greenhouse gas emissions — can have serious health effects for hundreds of millions of people during the hottest months of the year. Heat is the No.1 weather-related killer in the U.S., and the hottest days, particularly days over 90°F, are associated with dangerous ozone pollution levels that can trigger asthma attacks, heart attacks, and other serious health impacts.
Our analysis of summer temperatures in 60 of the largest U.S. cities found that:
57 cities had measurable urban heat island effects over the past 10 years. Single-day urban temperatures in some metro areas were as much as 27°F higher than the surrounding rural areas, and on average across all 60 cities, the maximum single-day temperature difference was 17.5°F.
Cities have many more searing hot days each year. Since 2004, 12 cities averaged at least 20 more days a year above 90°F than nearby rural areas. The 60 cities analyzed averaged at least 8 more days over 90°F each summer compared to adjacent rural areas.
More heat can increase ozone air pollution. All 51 cities with adequate data showed a statistically significant correlation between higher daily summer temperatures and bad air quality (as measured by ground-level ozone concentrations). Temperatures are being forced higher by increasing urbanization and manmade global warming, which could undermine the hard-won improvements in air quality and public health made over the past few decades.
In two thirds of the cities analyzed (41 of 60), urbanization and climate change appear to be combining to increase summer heat faster than climate change alone is raising regional temperatures. In three quarters (45 of 60) of cities examined, urbanized areas are warming faster than adjacent rural locations.
The top 10 cities with the most intense summer urban heat islands (average daily urban-rural temperature differences) over the past 10 years are:
Las Vegas (7.3°F)
Washington, D.C. (4.7°F)
Kansas City (4.6°F)
On average across all 60 cities, urban summer temperatures were 2.4°F hotter than rural temperatures.
This blog has become a place where I post articles that I find related to global warming - causes and effects, as well as a few other topics - related or not.
Jellyfish are like poster-boys of global warming changes - jellyfish are one species of animal that are doing very well. The increased acidity of the oceans, warmer waters, the decrease in predators as fish and other wildlife decline have all favored jellyfish. They seem to thrive on the fertilizers that people have been washing into the seas. Most animals do not.
I also like to post discoveries - especially discoveries that are being made out in space as people are able to see farther and farther galaxies and nebulas and supernovas. Even though I don't think that people will ever go live any of those places - I just like knowing that they are out there. It's part of keeping in mind that the earth and it's inhabitants are such a small part of what is going on in the universe.
I have another blog with posts on art and artists - it's called M'S IMPRESSIONS.