Hyderabad: Each year, the summer keeps getting hotter and hotter. And even if it does not technically, it feels that way in Hyderabad. The city, once known for its gardens and lakes, has turned into an urban heat island. Thanks to utter neglect of city planners over the decades who lorded over the slow but sure destruction of the city’s weather systems that had made Hyderabad a pleasant city to live in, even during summers.
“There has not been a single scientific study of how the heat build-up and transfer happens in Hyderabad,” according to environmentalist Prof K Purushottam Reddy. “It is not like there are no institutions in the city that can take up such studies. It is just that they have not done any real research on this subject,” he said.
According to scientists who studied the UHI phenomenon who published the results of their study in the journal Nature way back in 2014, the heat island effect can cause a rise anywhere between one and three degrees Celsius in temperature of a city.
“There is no longer the cooling effect of the water bodies which reduced temperature through evaporation. All the notable wooded areas in the city have also disappeared through there are pockets such as some forest blocks or the campuses such as HCU,” Purushottam Reddy said.
Incidentally, demonstrating the effect of even a pocket of such an environment has on the average temperature is the city Nehru Zoological Park. Accordign to zoo officials, the trees and various water bodies in the zoo keep the average temperatures in the zoo down by anywhere from one to three degrees Celsius even on the hottest of summer days elsewhere in the city.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency of the US, urban areas are usually warmer than their rural counterparts as they lose vegetation and more and more area is paved or covered with buildings. These changes reduce shade and moisture that would otherwise keep urban areas cool. “Built-up areas also evaporate less water, which contributes to elevated surface and air temperatures,” EPA says adding that construction materials used in the cities also contribute to the heat island effect.
Also affecting the city’s felt heat are factors such as its reduced capacity to allow heat to circulate in the air because of its increasingly congested and built up nature. According to experts, this was not allowing heat to either dissipate or escape into the upper layers of the atmosphere and is resulting in keeping the temperature trapped within the city making it hotter than ever with each passing summer.