Boston Ranked As One Of The Most Intense 'Urban Heat Islands' In Country

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BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — The summertime heat is on in Boston -- and new research finds it's one of the most intense across the United States.

According to a report from the research organization Climate Central, Boston is ranked #6 on the list of most intense urban heat islands.

"Urban heat islands are metropolitan areas that are hotter than their outlying regions, with the impacts felt most during summer months," the report said. "Neighborhoods in a highly-developed city can experience peak temperatures that are 15°F to 20°F hotter than nearby areas with more trees and less pavement."

The city received an index score of 7.24 °F with the key contributing factors being building height and population density. That number, which typically ranges from less than 5°F to nearly 9°F, refers to the potential difference in average temperature for the city compared to it's less-urban surroundings.

Cities topping the list above Boston are New Orleans, Newark, N.J., New York City, Houston, and San Francisco.

"Heat islands are heavily influenced by albedo, which measures whether a surface reflects sunlight or absorbs and retains the sun’s heat," the report said. "Other factors include the amount of impermeable surface, lack of greenery and trees, building height, and heat created by human activities."

When it comes to the impact of those heat levels -- researchers say it is a "public health threat," especially for vulnerable residents who may be disabled, low-income, or experiencing homelessness.

To read more about urban heat islands and how to mitigate their effects, you can visit the Climate Central website.

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Written by Rachel Armany

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