ASU engineers study Valley’s heat island

Image of downtown Phoenix from an infrared camera, 4/4/08[Source: William Hermann, Arizona Republic] — By helicopter, by automobile, even by Pedi cab, Professor Harindra Fernando’s researchers covered the Valley Friday in an intense investigation of an intensely uncomfortable phenomenon called the “urban heat island.”  Fernando and his Arizona State University engineering colleagues are trying more exactly than ever to define the heat-trapping effect that in the summer months turns much of the Valley from a place that was once hot but habitable, to something of a hell-on-earth.

The point is to help government and private enterprise slow and even reverse the central-Valley heating trend.  “Our freeways, streets and structures all hold in heat, creating a reservoir of heat in the Valley,” Fernando said.  “There was almost no heat island effect in the Valley until the late 1940s but it was rising by the late 1950s and has risen quickly since then.  If you keep increasing the heat island effect, as we have, at some point it will become so uncomfortable that people will start leaving the Valley.  It becomes the difference between comfort and misery.”  [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

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