To What Extent Do Urban Areas Modify Their Climate?

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To what extent do urban areas modify their climate? Climates can vary a great deal between a large urban area and the surrounding countryside. Urban climates are known to have their own ‘micro climates’ as they are significantly different to the rural areas. A microclimate is the climate of a very small or restricted area, especially when this differs from the climate of the surrounding area. The differences in urban climates are due to several reasons. Urban heat island affect is known to heat urban areas, urban areas are generally much hotter than surrounding rural areas. As you move from city centres into nearby rural areas the temperature is known to drop by up to 10 degrees. Around half of the world’s population live in urban areas but this rate is expected to increase to 70% by 2030. Negative affects relating to urbanisation is becoming increasingly concerning especially as there is an increased number of people who are moving out of the rural area into the urban/suburban areas. One of the causes of the heat island effect is the lack of vegetation in urban areas, the soil and vegetation would normally take part in photosynthesis and use the absorbed the sunlight to do the process of evaportranspiration. Another cause of the heat island is that the materials used on buildings such as concrete, bricks and tarmac all act like bare rock surfaces and so they absorb large quantities of heat throughout the day especially due to their dark colour. This heat is then stored during the day and slowly released at night. Many urban surfaces such as buildings with large windows have a high reflective capacity; many multi-storey buildings tend to concentrate the heating effect in the surrounding streets by reflecting the heat energy downwards. In urban areas a large amount of the heat comes from the industries and factories which burn fuels and release hot air into the
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