Urbanization and climate change are teaming up, turning up the heat in cities faster than rural areas. These hotter urban temperatures raise the risk for dangerous ozone air pollution, according to a new report, Summer in the City, from Climate Central, a research and journalism organization.
With 80 percent of Americans living in metro areas, these urban heat islands, where city temperatures are much hotter than surrounding rural areas, could cause serious health issues for millions of people. Heat is the No.1 weather-related killer in the U.S., and the hottest days, particularly days over 90°F, are associated with high levels of air pollution that can trigger asthma attacks, heart attacks and other serious health impacts.
“Climate change is warming the entire planet, rural and urban areas alike,” said Alyson Kenward, lead author of the report. “But thanks to the dual action of urbanization and climate change, cities are not just hotter, they are getting hotter faster: 45 of 60 cities we analyzed were warming at a faster rate than the surrounding rural land.”
Todd Sanford, PhD
Source: Climate Central
Publication Date: August 2014