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URBAN HEAT ISLAND EFFECT IN KOLKATA: SIMPLIFIER



  Jun 14, 2024

URBAN HEAT ISLAND EFFECT IN KOLKATA: SIMPLIFIER



Why is Kolkata experiencing such high temperatures and humidity levels?

Kolkata is currently facing extreme heat and humidity due to the delay in monsoon arrival. The city’s relative humidity is around 90%, with temperatures reaching up to 37°C.

What is the Urban Heat Island (UHI) effect?

The Urban Heat Island effect occurs when urban areas become significantly warmer than their rural surroundings due to human activities. This is caused by increased built-up areas, reduced greenery, and a decrease in water bodies.

How does the UHI effect impact Kolkata’s night-time temperatures?

The UHI effect prevents Kolkata from cooling down adequately at night. Studies show that night-time land surface temperatures in core areas of Kolkata drop less compared to outer and peri-urban areas.

What changes have occurred in Kolkata’s environment?

Kolkata’s built-up area increased from 70% in 2001 to 80.1% in 2023, while green cover decreased from 15.2% to 14.5%, and water bodies reduced from 5.1% to 1.9%.

What are the health implications of the UHI effect?

The combination of high heat and humidity can compromise the body’s cooling mechanism, leading to heat stress and illness. Higher humidity levels limit the evaporation of sweat, making it harder for the body to cool down.

How does humidity affect thermal comfort in Kolkata?

High humidity in Kolkata makes it thermally uncomfortable, especially during the monsoon months. The heat index, which combines temperature and humidity, is higher during these periods.

What does the future hold for Kolkata’s climate?

According to the Sixth Assessment Report of the IPCC, the frequency and intensity of heat extremes and the duration of heat waves have increased since 1950 and will continue to rise, even if global warming stabilizes at 1.5°C.

What measures can be taken to mitigate the UHI effect?

Increasing green cover, preserving water bodies, and implementing sustainable urban planning can help mitigate the UHI effect. Global cooperation and local initiatives are essential to address these challenges effectively.



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