Urban heat island

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An urban heat island (UHI) is a built up area that is hotter than nearby rural areas. The annual mean air temperature of a city with 1 million people or more can be 1–3°C warmer than its surroundings.[1]

The temperature in Atlanta is 5 to 8 degrees Fahrenheit higher than outlying areas, and this excess heat produces increased rainfall and thunderstorms.[2]

This temperature gradient can gradually increase; for example, from 1945 to 1990 San Antonio has apparently gotten 3°C warmer than nearby New Braunfels. [3]


  1. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Heat Island Effect
  2. NASA, Welcome to the Thunder Dome: Atlanta's Urban Heat Alters Weather Patterns, 1999
  3. Daniel Boyce, The heat is on..., Southwest Research Institute.