heat island effect

heat island effect

The heat island effect is an effect that occurs when dark surfaces absorb the Sun's energy and re-radiate it throughout the day and night, raising the ambient air temperature. The annual mean air temperature of a city with 1 million people or more can be 1.8–5.4°F (1–3°C) warmer than its surroundings. In the evening, the difference can be as high as 22°F (12°C).


Heat islands can affect communities by increasing summertime peak energy demand, air conditioning costs, air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, heat-related illness and mortality, and water quality.