FutureWire - futurism and emerging technology

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Tokyo Becomes a "Heat Island"

While much of the US broils with abnormally high temperatures this week (99°F in my little corner of New Jersey yesterday), other parts of the world are coping with uncomfortable summer heat as well. Tokyo, for instance, experienced very high temperatures last week (96.8°F on Saturday), due in part to the "summertime heat island" phenomenon.

A local condition, the "heat island" effect occurs in cities lacking trees and grass cover that promote natural cooling. Buildings, meanwhile, retain and reflect heat, keeping cities uncomfortably warm even at night. The Japanese government is studying ways to relieve heat islands such as Tokyo, which experienced record heat last summer and appears on course to remain hot this year. Among the proposed solutions are to develop new structures that dissipate heat more efficiently, enforce traffic control, promote more use of low-emission vehicles, energy conservation, increased planting of vegetation, and recreational activities outside the city center in the summer.

Source: Kurashi News from Japan