Heat Island Effect Pushing Up Oklahoma Temperatures

Tuesday, July 10th 2007, 2:43 pm
By: News On 6

Have you ever noticed that it seems to be hotter in cities than it is in the country? This is caused by the heat island effect.

A heat island is urban air and surface temperatures that are higher than nearby rural areas. This is because cities are replacing natural land cover, like grass and trees, with pavement and high-rise buildings. All that pavement holds onto heat even after the sun has gone down, pushing the temperature in the city up by anywhere from 1° to 10°. Tall buildings in cities can also contribute to the heat island effect. They can block the breeze trapping hot air between them that can result in the temperature going up in the city.

Those elevated temperatures impact the community by taking aim at resident’s pocket books. Since the temperature is higher the demand for energy to run things like the air conditioner increases, which at times can increase the cost of the energy. The heat island effect can also have a negative affect on one’s health, especially if you do not own an air conditioner.
Heat islands don’t only form in the summer. They can form any time of the year day or night. For more information about heat islands, visit the EPA’s website, www.epa.gov/heatisland.