Common Climate Questions

Q: Might urban “heat islands” skew the global temperature record?

A: No. The urban heat island effect is undoubtedly a real phenomenon that has been recorded in major cities around the world. It results from the large amounts of concrete and asphalt in cities absorbing and holding heat and the minimal amount of vegetation to provide shade and evaporative cooling. However, scientists have accounted for these local effects and have verified that they do not skew the global temperature record. For example, one test scientists have done is to remove all the urban stations from the global temperature record. When this is done, the global warming of the past 50 years is still apparent.