Extract from an article by Merrill Singer
Last week’s record-setting heat in the Pacific Northwest and current triple-digit temperatures in Arizona are the latest reminders that climate change is heating up the Earth. This trend is a serious threat to cities, which are warming at higher rates than other parts of the planet.
A recent multi-country analysis found that from 1950 through 2015, 27 percent of cities and 65 percent of urban populations experienced greater warming than the planetary average of 1 degree Fahrenheit. About 60 percent of the world’s city dwellers experienced warming twice as great as the rest of the world.
One or two degrees may not seem like much, but for especially vulnerable groups like the elderly, the sick, the poor, pregnant women and infants, it may be enough to tip the scales. In a time of global warming and intensifying summer heat waves, life in cities is becoming more perilous. As I found in a recent study, this is especially true for marginalized groups such as minorities and the poor.
Studies of the urban heat island effect date to the 1830s, when British chemist Luke Howard demonstrated that temperatures in London were consistently warmer than those at sites outside the city. Heat islands develop when a large portion of the natural land cover in an area is replaced by built surfaces like roads and buildings. These structures trap incoming solar radiation during the daylight hours and release it at night..(continues)
SOURCE: Merrill Singer, “Heat waves threaten city dwellers, especially minorities and the poor”, The Conversation, 07 AUGUST 2017
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