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Islands in the Sun is a four-year research project funded by the University of Minnesota’s INSTITUTE ON THE ENVIRONMENT and the College of Food, Agricultural, and Natural Resource Sciences to monitor the urban heat island of the Twin Cities Metropolitan Area. The project aims to improve understanding of the mechanisms contributing to urban heat islands with a goal of finding ways to lessen their effects through landscape design.
Urban heat islands are regions of strong warming that are localized around the core downtown region of a city with progressively lower temperatures as one travels away from the central region of warming – hence the name “heat island”.
Urban heat islands exist because of large differences in land use, building materials, and vegetation between cities and their rural surroundings. This difference can be in excess of 1-10°F during the daytime and as much as 12-20°F at night.
Hear University of Minnesota climate scientists Peter Snyder and Tracy Twine talk about their research aimed at reducing the adverse impacts of the urban heat island effect.