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Local warming is here, and growing

delhi Updated: Sep 26, 2009 00:59 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Sitaram Bazaar

You have always felt it, and now there is scientific evidence to show that the heavily commercialised belt from Connaught Place to Sitaram Bazaar is the hottest zone in Delhi.

The results follow from a study carried out by Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Delhi.

The project, which mapped the temperatures of 30 different locations in the National Capital Region over a period of four days in May 2008, found Connaught Place along with Bhikaji Cama Place and Sitaram Bazaar to be the hottest zones of the Capital.

IIT, Hauz Khas District Park, Sanjay Van and Buddha Jayanti Park are on the other end of the temperature spectrum — the coolest.

And there’s a reason why people in CP, Bhikaji Cama Place and Sitaram Bazaar are feeling the heat more than people in other parts of the city.

Professor Manju Mohan, who carried out the research in collaboration with Meisei University (Japan) and IIT, Roorkee, attributes it to a phenomenon called the Urban Heat Island (UHI) Effect.

An urban heat island is a metropolitan area which is warmer than its surroundings.

“The UHI effect is a problem faced as a result of rapid industrialisation and urbanisation of the cities. Densely populated regions generate more anthropogenic heat, that is heat generated by human activity. That increases the temperature of an area even further,” she said.

“The results compiled over four days showed that three hot zones are hotter than the mentioned ‘cool’ zones by 2.8 to 8.3 degrees C, around 9 pm. The range in temperature variation arises from changing weather conditions — from rainy to moderately hot,” Mohan said.

But why should CP or the other two areas register higher temperatures in comparison with, say, Dwarka, which has a larger human population residing there?

“This is because these are commercial areas which make the maximum use of cooling devices such as air conditioners and also have some of the busiest traffic intersections. These primarily lead to the building up of these heat islands,” said Mohan.

Apart from these highly commercialised pockets, it is residential areas such as Dwarka, Noida, Janakpuri, Kaushambi and Adarsh Nagar which have turned out to be among the hotter zones in the Capital.

So what does living in a heat island really mean for a regular Delhiite?

As a natural consequence, you will feel a greater need for air-conditioning and in all probability start running up greater electricity bills. Water consumption, too, will increase.

The more cooling devices you use the more heat you generate and that sets off a vicious cycle, making it difficult to mitigate the UHI effect.

“The best mitigation solution is to stop the use of such electrical devices and vehicles which pollute. But that is not practical. We are now soon going to conduct a research on the best possible ways of mitigating this problem in Delhi,” said Mohan.