Heat Island (UHI) Effect can adversely impact a city's
public health, air quality, energy demand, and infrastructure
Hotter air in cities increases both the frequency and intensity
of ground-level ozone (the main ingredient in smog) and can push
metropolitan areas out of compliance with federal air quality
The UHI Effect prolongs and intensifies heat waves in cities,
making residents and workers uncomfortable and putting them at
increased risk for heat exhaustion and heat stroke. In addition,
high concentrations of ground level ozone aggravate re ratory
problems such as asthma, putting children and the elderly at
Hotter temperatures increase demand for air conditioning,
increasing energy use when demand is already high. This in turn
contributes to power shortages and raises energy expenditures at
a time when energy costs are at their highest.
Global warming is in large part caused by the burning of fossil
fuels to produce electricity for heating and cooling buildings.
Urban Heat Islands contribute to global warming by increasing
the demand for electricity to cool our buildings. Depending on
the fuel mix used in producing electricity in your region, each
kilowatt hour of electricity consumed can produce up to 2.3
pounds of carbon dioxide (CO2), the main greenhouse gas
contributing to global warming.
Urban Heat Islands is a simple way to decrease the risk to
public health during heat waves, while also reducing energy use,
the emissions that contribute to global warming, and the
conditions that cause smog.
click to enlarge
The following video segments help
describe the heat island effect. They were created through a
partnership between EPA and The
Weather Channel (TWC) cable
network as part of TWC's new 'Forecast Earth' series.
Windows Media Player
56 KB modem (617 KB)
highspeed (4.7 MB)
56 KB modem (656 KB)
highspeed (4.5 MB)