An urban heat island (UHI) is a metropolitan area which is significantly warmer than its surrounding rural areas. The temperature difference usually is larger at night than during the day, and is most apparent when winds are weak. Seasonally, UHI is seen during both summer and winter. The main cause of the urban heat island is modification of the land surface by urban development which uses materials which effectively retain heat; waste heat generated by energy usage is a secondary contributor. As population centers grow they tend to modify a greater and greater area of land and have a corresponding increase in average temperature. The lesser-used term heat island refers to any area, populated or not, which is consistently hotter than the surrounding area.
Heat islands are areas of higher temperatures in the landscape caused by urbanization of rural areas. As roads, buildings, and other infrastructures replace open land and vegetation, once moist and permeable surfaces become dry and impermeable, causing urban areas to be warmer than their rural surroundings. It like an “island” of heat, and they occur in two places: on the surface and in the atmosphere. The effects of this condition include increased energy consumption, elevated emissions of air pollutants and greenhouse gases, compromised human health and comfort, and impaired water quality. Planting trees and vegetation, creating green roofs and using cool pavements help reduce the heat island effect
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