How Cities Make Their Own Weather

When Houston is hit by a sudden storm, the city may be partly to blame. Increasingly, urban centers don't merely endure bad weather; they help create it. Researchers believe the phenomenon may be more common now than ever before.

Scientists have known for 200 years that the temperature in a city can be higher than that in its environs--something they learned when an amateur weather watcher detected a 1.58°F temperature difference between London and its suburbs. Modern cities, with their cars and heat-trapping buildings, can create an even bigger temperature gap, sometimes as much as 10°F.

Islands of urban heat...

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