top of page

Heat Island Effect



Have you ever heard of a “heat island”? That sounds like a tropical getaway resort.


“Heat islands are urbanized areas that experience higher temperatures than outlying areas. Structures such as buildings, roads, and other infrastructure absorb and re-emit the sun’s heat more than natural landscapes such as forests and water bodies. Urban areas, where these structures are highly concentrated and greenery is limited, become “islands” of higher temperatures re outlying areas. Daytime temperatures in urban areas are about 1–7°F higher than temperatures in outlying areas and nighttime temperatures are about 2-5°F higher.” I copied this from epa.gov, the website of the United States Environmental Protection Agency. The phenomenon is called “heat island effect”.


In case you missed it, I’ll rephrase it. Urbanized areas (like Naga City or any city for that matter) experience higher temperatures than outlying areas Structures such as buildings, roads, and other infrastructure absorb and re-emit the sun’s heat more than natural landscapes such as forests and water bodies. Structures such as buildings (like the many buildings all around downtown Naga, malls, large churches and even along streets which border between commercial and residential districts), roads (like the concrete thoroughfares, inner barangay streets and paved sidewalks) , and other infrastructure (like bridges, monuments, statues in plazas) absorb and re-emit the sun’s heat more than natural landscapes such as forests (like wooded areas in rural areas around Camarines Sur) and water bodies (like the lakes in Buhi and Bato, and the seas in coastal areas in the municipalities of Camarines Sur). Daytime (during which elementary and high school class hours mostly occur) temperatures in urban areas (like Naga City) are about 1–7°F higher than temperatures in outlying areas (like the municipalities of Camarines Sur).


Now, what I don’t get is why are face-to-face classes in the Division of Camarines Sur (where the temperature is slightly relatively lower) suspended until rescinded; while classes in the heat island of Naga continue every day with thermal exposure on the commute time, re-emission through the concrete walls and the electric fans which blow hot wind, with only a half-day off. Should it not that the children in the urban heat island get more protection from the heat? Or better yet, should they not be protected with the same level of protection? It just doesn’t make sense. They tell us that it’s a case-to-case basis, that some schools have better conditions. But I imagine that a Naga City school would be surrounded mostly of concrete and less greenery, with the kids needing to ride on public utility tricycles and jeepneys on traffic jammed streets which themselves are sandwiched by concrete structures that re-emit heat against each other. Then, I imagine a Camarines sur school to be surrounded with relatively denser foliage, with relatively less concrete structues, less vehicular traffic jams, less smoke from those vehicles. Some areas in Cam Sur may even be close to lakes or seashores or streams which could be a refreshing response to the heat. You can even disregard that presumption. We have science to rely on. Do you notice the imbalance? Do you notice the disconnect?


I hope you’re not getting fed up that it has been the fourth issue in a row that I have been writing my rants about local heat. This is becoming a regular topic. I don’t know. Maybe next week, I’ll write about the Chinese students in Cagayan or the recent positioning of candidates for the coming local elections. If I remember right, the last time I wrote about the same issue for consecutive weeks was when we were in the middle of the pandemic. Hey, that got me thinking. Maybe, this intense heat is getting to be a social issue of epidemic scale. A few months ago, people (including myself) started to wear masks again because we were starting to get jitters for some resurgence of the virus and pertussis. But when the sun started to bake our part of the world and escalating that mercury level, people seemed to suddenly forget their masks in favor of breathing in the middle of the intense heat. Hey, what happened to pertussis? It probably has not died down completely. But as it seems now, we just don’t care anymore. The heat has become a bigger health problem. We just want to get by with this solar suffering as best as we could.


Genesis 8:22: ““While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night Shall not cease.””


Comments


bottom of page