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Urban Micro-climates

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  • Essay length: 1037 words
  • Submitted: 22/07/2009
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AS and A Level Atmosphere & Weathering

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Geography - Atmospheric Systems Essay

a) Outline the characteristics of urban heat islands. (5)

First and foremost the urban heat island can be defined as an effect whereby inner city areas tend to have higher mean annual and also higher winter minimum temperatures than the surrounding rural areas. The differences in heat usually become more substantial towards the centre of the urban areas. Heat is given off by factories, vehicles and home, all of which burn fuel and produce heat which aids the urban heat island effect. Also urban surfaces, such as concrete and tarmac, absorb substantial amounts of solar radiation before releasing it during the night. This occurrence therefore attributes to the much higher night time temperatures found in the centres of urban areas. Smog and pollutants found in the urban areas form a pollution zone which allows short wave insolation to enter, however the smog consequently traps the outgoing terrestrial radiation as this is of a longer wavelength. Falling precipitation in urban areas is quickly removed from the surface by the efficient drainage systems in place in the urban areas, the result being that more energy is retained in the atmosphere.

The temperature variations

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