(ORDO NEWS) — An international team of scientists led by researchers from the University of Nanjing, based on satellite measurements, showed that cities warm up much faster than the countryside.
The world’s largest metropolitan areas are warming up the fastest, including London, Beijing and Moscow. But as the study shows, urban warming can be slowed down if the city has a lot of parks and greenery.
Cities around the world are warming by an average of 0.5°C per decade – that’s 29% faster than the rate of warming in rural areas.
This conclusion was reached by an international team of scientists led by researchers from Nanjing University.
Scientists have shown that climate change and urban growth are accelerating the rise in average annual surface temperatures in cities.
People living in cities are exposed to more heatwaves than the general population due to the “urban heat island” effect: the land in the city gets hotter than the surrounding countryside.
The scientists analyzed satellite ground temperature data for more than 2,000 urban centers around the world between 2002 and 2021 and compared them to background temperatures in the surrounding countryside.
The analysis included major metropolitan areas such as Abuja in Nigeria, Phoenix in the US, London in the UK, Sao Paulo in Brazil, Beijing in China.
Megacities are warming up the most
The authors estimate that cities are warming 29% faster than rural areas, and metropolitan areas are warming even faster.
Climate change is the largest contributor to urban surface warming, raising temperatures by an average of 0.30 °C per decade.
In China and India, urban growth alone is responsible for the observed urban surface warming of 0.23°C per decade, scientists estimate.
The conclusion is quite simple – the larger the city becomes, the stronger the effect of the “heat island” and the faster the city warms up.
However, the authors also found that urban greening in European cities offsets ground warming by 0.13°C per decade, indicating the ability of urban vegetation to slow warming.
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