Urban areas "getting hotter faster"

The UHI hard at work

So reads the headline on the ABC website, as if it’s something we don’t know. Obviously, as cities increase in size, the Urban Heat Island (UHI) effect will also increase. However, the latest “research” bolts this on to the IPCC’s incorrectly exaggerated warming predictions, to give some even scarier scenarios:

Dr Richard Betts, a climate scientist at the UK’s Met Office, and colleagues, report their findings in the journal Geophysical Research Letters [although I cannot find the article there right now].

Betts and colleagues found not only do cities retain more heat than rural areas do but hot cities will grow even hotter as the climate warms and cities grow.

By mid-century, night-time temperatures in cities could rise by more than 5.6°C, they say.

At stake are the comfort and health of people who live in cities around the world, especially those who don’t have access to air-conditioning.

“If you’ve been exposed to hot temperatures during the day and you expect relief over night, that becomes increasingly difficult as temperatures at night get warmer,” says Betts. “We have to prepare to live in a warmer world.”

In a concrete jungle, roads and buildings absorb sunlight and trap heat, which also flows as waste out of cars, air-conditioning units and even just the breathing of millions of people crammed into a busy grid of streets.

As a result, cities create their own, warmer microclimates – a phenomenon called the urban heat island effect.

Unfortunately, this is another GIGO* case, where the results from the IPCC’s incomplete models, which vastly overstate the sensitivity of the climate, are plugged into further models of UHI effects (which may or may not be accurate). However, satellite temperatures are continuing to diverge from the IPCC’s predictions, which means that research based on them is the stuff of fairytales.

Read it here.

* Garbage in, garbage out


  1. Sounds a lot like the worst contrived notion of a feedback mechanism, ever.

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