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Ecologists in Action asks the Murcia City Council to study the 'island of heat' effect (14/09/2018)

Ecologists in Action has addressed the City of Murcia to request a study on the so-called 'thermal island' or 'heat island' effect whereby the urban environment registers significant temperature differences with respect to rural areas and huerta periurbanas, in order to better diagnose this effect and be able to implement measures to prevent or minimize the increase in temperatures in the urban area.

The origin of the 'thermal island' effect is due to the fact that the occupation of the ground by buildings, pavement and asphalt accumulates the heat of the solar radiation and that, later, it is detached at night, an accumulated heat that can vary depending on the type of building, of pavements and asphalts, of the presence or absence of vegetation, etc.

This effect may have other contributions that increase it in certain areas, such as the gases emitted by traffic or the generation of heat by infrastructure such as air conditioners.

In addition, the size of the urban area influences as the volume of heated air will depend on the surface, the contributions of traffic and others, together with the ease or difficulty of the dispersion of this hot air.

So the 'island of heat' increases with the size of the city and the growth of urban mesh.

Thus, this effect is a consequence of the urban model that each city has.

For example, the construction of empty squares without vegetation or trees contributes to a greater insolation of these spaces and to the increase of temperature in the historical centers.

On the contrary, spaces with vegetation and shade trees have a lower temperature.

The organization warns that although it is possible to intervene in spaces already urbanized to improve their conditions and reduce this effect, the ideal is that urban planning is carried out taking into account these aspects, to avoid the materials and urban designs that facilitate the effect .

In the case of urban environments already built, Ecologists in Action states that a study on the 'island of heat' effect similar to those to be developed by the Miguel Hernández University of Elche in the cities of Cartagena, Lorca and Águilas should be carried out. .

With these studies it will be possible to determine which elements of the urban area and which materials contribute most to this effect so that interventions can be planned in the short, medium and long term that reduce it and make cities more livable environments.

Among the interventions that can be carried out to reduce the 'thermal island' effect in already urbanized spaces are:

- Gradual substitution of paving materials for materials less susceptible to accumulate heat as well as an increase in unpaved areas.

- Increase of shade trees in streets and squares, placement of fountains and sheets of water, etc.

that reduce the insolation of the floor and pavement.

- Increase in open spaces with shade vegetation in the historic center.

- Installation of fixed pergolas and removable awnings in areas of greater insolation with less possibility of housing shade trees.

- Reduction of urban traffic of vehicles and use of pavements with less capacity to accumulate heat.

- Rational use of air conditioning in public centers and repeated awareness campaigns for the population, businesses and businesses.

Therefore, Ecologists in Action reiterates the need to address this problem and asks the City of Murcia to conduct a rigorous study on the heat island effect similar to those of Cartagena, Lorca and Águilas, to obtain a map of the current situation in the capital with which measures can be planned, in order to significantly reduce this negative effect and improve the quality of life of residents and users of urban space.

Source: Ecologistas en Acción

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