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Yale University
Smooth surfaces help make cities into sizzling urban heat islands
Smooth surfaces help make cities into sizzling urban heat islands

Nineteen years ago this month, Chicago experienced one of the worst heat waves in its history. Nearly 500 people, mostly poor and elderly residents of the city’s dense urban core,  perished in sweltering temperatures and oppressive humidity. The National Weather Service later determined that Chicago itself was partly to blame: The city’s man-made structures and surfaces created a microclimate that amplified the heat wave to lethal highs. Scientists have recognized this so-called Urban Heat Island effect for more than 200 years, but they have struggled to fully explain it. Now researchers have identified an important but seemingly innocuous factor: the differences in...

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