Climate change affects cities and transforms them in heat islands, induced by materials composing the urban environment. Considering that more than 50% of world population lives in cities, and the phenomena is growing, the situation is alarming. A Central Europe Program “Urban Heat Islands” is working to face the problem, writes Science on the Net:
Climate change today is a reality. It involves lot of problems, the toughest ones being the loss of biodiversity, the rise of sea levels and the increase of temperatures. But there are also other less known phenomena connected with the global warming. One of them is the urban heat island, which is induced by materials composing the urban environment and involves numerous cities across Europe. Cement retains heat, sewer systems carry water away quickly, impeding the cooling, and heat is trapped between surfaces because of the so-called canyon effect. Thus, urban areas are generally hotter than the surrounding rural areas and in summer cities burn. “We still remember the heat wave that struck Europe in 2003, causing the death of almost 70,000 people in 12 countries,” affirms Paolo Lauriola, epidemiologist of the Environmental Protection Agency of the Emilia-Romagna Region. “The situation can only get worse, because urbanization continues to grow as well as climate changes. To address the problem monitoring, mitigation and adaptation actions are necessary.