AZ Big Media: The urban heat island

Monday, October 24, 2016

Arizona Big Media reported Phoenix’s continuous temperature rise over the past several years has become a major environmental issue for the greater metropolitan area.

When pavement and cement structures are in high temperature areas they absorb and maintain heat, which becomes known as an urban heat island (UHI). Phoenix’s UHI continues to worsen with more urbanization and industrialization.

Director of the Kyl Center for Water Policy Sarah Porter at Morrison Institute for Public Policy at Arizona State University strives for ways to address Arizona’s natural resource challenges and find ways to combat Arizona environmental problems.

“[The UHI] is the number one problem,” Porter said. “It hurts low income homes much worse than affluent people. Low income people live in hotter places.”

The need for air conditioning and water for homes and offices to stay cool increases each summer, which in the ends costs more in the hotter areas.

Additionally, the UHI affects peoples’ abilities to go outside.

“We can’t have a walkable city,” Porter said. “Kids can’t play outside which affects children’s health. There is too much impermeable surface.”

According to 12News, Phoenix is the hottest city in the United States. To account for southern Arizona’s natural desolate climate, efforts need to be taken as Phoenix continues to grow.

READ: Is Phoenix’s Urban Heat Island becoming a hazard?