ClimateBits: Urban Heat Island


This video explains urban heat islands – the concept that cities are warmer than the surrounding countryside. Paving over natural landscapes removes the cooling effect that plants have through evaporation and water retention. Paved surfaces absorb more of the sun’s energy during the day and emit that heat back into the air at night. This video features NASA satellite imagery. Land surface temperatures demonstrate seasonal variability. Lights at night fade to summertime urban-rural temperature differences to highlight areas around the world that experience the urban heat island effect. Produced in collaboration with the Science Museum of Virginia (supported by NOAA Environmental Literacy Grant #NA15SEC0080009). For more information, visit


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