Cities across the globe are ground zero for rising temperatures.
A key reason: The “urban heat island” effect that can leave city centers considerably warmer than surrounding areas. London, for example, can be 10C hotter during extreme heat events than outer rural areas, a BMJ analysis notes.
Behind the phenomenon:
- Materials like metal, concrete, and brick that absorb and store heat from the sun
- A lack of vegetation limits the cooling effect of evaporation from the soil
- Heat released by human activities (eg, transport, lighting, air conditioning) becomes trapped in “urban street canyons.”
To address the extreme heat, Athens, Miami, and now Freetown, Sierra Leone have appointed chief heat officers, Thomson Reuters Foundation reports.
In her 1-year tenure as Freetown CHO, 34-year-old “mother on a mission” Eugenia Kargbo aims to collect new heat and housing data, and plant hundreds of thousands of trees to cool the city and prevent deadly landslides.
Kargbo's aim: For her children to be able to leave the house without fear of heat stroke.
Climate change: Global-warming greenhouse gas levels in atmosphere hit record high – Sky News
Climate change: Pledge of $100bn annual aid slips to 2023 – BBC
Yes, There Has Been Progress on Climate. No, It’s Not Nearly Enough. – The New York Times
How Climate Change Hurt this Year’s Apple Harvest – Scientific American