Urban Heat Islands: Observations, Impacts, and Adaptation

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Urban heat islands are a clear, well-documented example of an anthropogenic modification to climate that has an atmospheric, biological, and economic impact. This review shows how field-based and modeling studies continue to help unravel the factors that are responsible for heat island development and are providing a basis for the development and application of sustainable adaptation strategies. As urban areas continue to expand, there is a heightened awareness that scientific knowledge of the urban heat island must be more effectively communicated to architects, engineers, and planners and translated into intelligent urban design. Green roof technology is a case in point. This and other technologies are being slowly adopted, and research published since 2003 suggests that the pace with which many practical applications are put into practice should accelerate.