Discuss the factors that induce Urban Heat Island (UHI) effect. What strategies can be adopted to reduce the UHI effect? Explain.

Urban Heat Island (UHI) refers to the phenomenon which causes an increase in air and surface temperature of the urban areas in comparison to their rural counterparts.
Factors that induce Urban Heat Island (UHI) effect are:

  • Natural vegetation replaced by impervious surfaces like concrete, asphalt, roof tops and building walls.
  • Waste heat generated from air conditioners and refrigerators is one of the major reasons for the urban heat island
  • Excessive use of diesel-powered vehicles
  • Certain weather conditions such as clear skies and calm winds can foster urban heat island formation
  • Anthropogenic heat emissions

Strategies that can be adopted to reduce the same are:

  • Growing trees and vegetation in urban areas
  • Modern green roofs and walls
  • Use of solar reflective “cool” pavements for roads
  • Replacing the diesel vehicles with electric or hybrid vehicles
  • Using energy-efficient appliances 
  • Cool roofing to control temperature of buildings
Question for UPSC Mains:
Discuss the factors that induce Urban Heat Island (UHI) effect. What strategies can be adopted to reduce the UHI effect? Explain. (150 words, 10 Marks)

Published: January 25, 2018 | Modified:June 27, 2019

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