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Urban heat islands

Date: 19 May 2022 Tags: Miscellaneous


Many cities across the country have been adversely affected due to a phenomenon known as ‘urban heat islands’.



Urban areas have been more affected in comparison to rural areas due to this weather phenomenon.



  • Delhi and its surrounding areas witnessed high temperature, reaching almost 50 degree Celsius across different parts.

  • In comparison, areas beyond the city limits did not witness such high temperatures. This was a direct result of urban heat island.


Urban heat island phenomenon

  • It is a phenomenon in which certain pockets within a city witness higher heat load than surrounding or neighbouring areas on the same day.

  • These variations can be experienced due to heat remaining trapped within locations that often resemble concrete jungles. Temperatures can vary between 3 to 5 degree Celsius.


High temperature in cities

  • Rural areas have green cover in the form of plantations, farmlands, forests and trees as compared to urban regions.

  • Green areas regulate heat through process known as transpiration, which involves releasing it in the form of water vapour.

  • Urban areas do not have enough green cover to regulate heat. As a result, natural temperature regulation is almost absent.

  • Cities are made up of materials such as glass, concrete and metals, which are absorbers of heat. Thus, heat remains trapped and form heat islands.


Reducing urban heat islands

  • Increasing green cover by planting trees in open spaces is the best way to reduce urban heat islands.

  • Another way is to use materials and colours that reflect light. Terrace garden have to be developed in all households.


Recent observations

  • Nighttime temperatures around Delhi and surrounding cities were higher than the nearby rural areas.

  • This was attributed to heat island effect. The difference between temperatures was as high as 20 degree Celsius.

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