Weatherwatch: rural areas feel the heat from urbanisation

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Impact of replacing vegetation with asphalt extends far beyond city boundaries, study reveals

More concrete equals more heat. We’ve heard about the urban heat island effect, where replacing vegetation with asphalt leads to greater localised warming, but what impact do urban heat islands have on the countryside around them? A new study, published in Environmental Research Letters, shows that the warming impact of urbanisation extends far beyond the city boundaries.

In Great Britain 5.8% of land area is covered by artificial surfaces, up from 4.3% in 1975. It is one of the most urbanised countries in the world with 83% of the population living on 6% of the land. Using air temperature and wind speed measurements, researchers created a statistical model to estimate the warming impact that Great Britain’s cities have on the surrounding countryside, and investigated how this has changed over time.

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