This “silent danger” puts major cities at risk

A climate issue that’s probably not on your radar? High temperatures underground. NBC News He has the scoop in a recent paper published in nature Which studies how this trapped heat could affect cities if not properly mitigated. This phenomenon, called “underground climate change,” has nothing to do with atmospheric climate change caused by an imbalance of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Instead, the increased temperatures come from heat generated by subways and buildings being released directly into the ground, causing deformation and potential damage to city structures. The study’s author, Alessandro Rota Loria of Northwestern University, describes it as a “silent danger.” “There’s already a lot of heat under our feet,” he told NBC. “This heat actually caused the Earth to deform.”

Major cities like Chicago, New York and London are at risk of sinking underground due to climate change. Data from Ruta Luria, studying Chicago specifically, shows that underground heat associated with buildings and parking lots has been spreading and increasing faster than surface temperatures, with one exception being Chicago’s Millennium Park. “If we compare it to global warming and how surface temperatures are rising, it’s actually faster,” he said. “Underground temperatures are rising faster in cities than on the surface.” To track temperatures, Ruta Loria and his team installed more than 150 credit card-sized sensors throughout Chicago over three years, per American Scientific.

Temperatures under man-made structures can be up to 77 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than undisturbed underground sites, he says. Mitigation solutions include installing thermal insulation, as well as trapping excess heat for use in geothermal energy. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg acknowledged the importance of addressing this issue as part of the administration’s climate agenda. “We’re partnering with states on this, because it may be that the kind of cement or steel or asphalt that you use in the 21st century needs to look a little different than what we learned to build in 100 years.” Before,” he told NBC. (There are some hopeful undertones in this new climate report.)

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