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Study Finds Cities Are Warming Up Roughly 30% Quicker Than Rural Areas

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According to a study, urbanization and climate change are speeding global surface temperatures by 0.5 degrees Celsius every decade on average, which is 29% quicker than in rural areas.

Chinese researchers from Nanjing University and colleagues noticed that urban greening, also known as planting trees and other vegetation, has been shown to reduce surface warming in European cities by 0.13 degrees Celsius every decade.

Due to the urban heat island effect, which makes urban land hotter than nearby rural territory, people who live in cities are more exposed to heat during heat wave events than the overall population, they claimed. 

The researchers found that although many current projections of future human heat exposure use the assumption that the rates of surface temperature increase in urban and rural areas will be equal, the urban heat island effect will be exacerbated by climate change and population development in cities.

They calculated that approximately 0.23 degrees Celsius of the observed surface warming in cities per decade in China and India was caused by urban growth. Urban greening may help to moderate the accelerating surface urban heat island effect, although this is still unknown, according to the study.

The study, which was just published in the journal Communications Earth & Environment, examined satellite data on land surface temperatures for more than 2,000 urban areas around the world between the years 2002 and 2021 and contrasted them with background surface temperatures from rural areas.

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