Opinion: Letter to the Editor: Heat Rising: Population Density?

Local governments and the general public are beginning to become aware that on extremely hot days, high temperatures in urban areas can vary greatly, even over short distances. The Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges' Heat Watch project, which Marymount University is attempting to gauge locally, likely understands that extremely hot summer temperatures are closely associated with paved and developed areas, whereas more moderate temperatures occur in nearby wooded areas and parkland. [“Universities Measure Heat Disparities in Virginia,” Aug. 18, 2021, http://www.connectionnewspapers.com/news/2021/aug/18/universities-measure-heat-disparities-virginia/]

How much of the temperature difference university researchers measure can be tied to development transforming vacant land and low-density buildings with lawns which moderate some of the heat into built-out-to-the-lot-line high rises which project it into the nearby environs? How much of measured global warming can be tied to the development needed to accommodate the sort of population density Alexandria has experienced recently (double the statewide population growth rate over the past decade) on a global scale where population has topped seven billion en route to eight? Are fossil fuels being unfairly faulted for carbon generation when population growth-driven development and deforestation may be the real culprits?

Dino Drudi

Alexandria

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