Urban Heat May Warm Faraway Places
The massive amounts of heat produced by cities may be heating up rural areas 1,000 miles away, atmospheric researchers have found in a new modeling study. Scientists have long invoked the “urban island heat effect” to explain why cities are generally hotter than suburban and rural areas. More people, as well as more cars, houses, and paved surfaces, turn energy into heat, which is radiated into the atmosphere.
But new modeling research from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography suggests that cities in the Northern Hemisphere can also increase the heat of faraway rural places up to 1.8ºF —a substantial aggregate increase. The reason comes down to global air flow.