Expert: More concrete and less trees are turning northern Merida into a “Heat Island”

The rapid growth and development of infrastructure have turned the north of the city of Mérida into an authentic “heat iron”, which concentrates a difference of up to three degrees Celsius higher than the rest of the city.

According to the meteorologist and specialist in the category Juan Palma Solís, Mérida can already be considered a “heat island” that has more aggressive conditions in the northern part of the city, from Francisco de Montejo to Altabrisa.

“The heat has increased in recent years over the city of Merida, and as time goes by, temperature records are broken. This is definitely related to the increase in the mass of concrete and the constant deforestation of which the city is a victim”, said the specialist in a publication of his authorship called “Merida: a real island of heat.”

According to Palma Solís, the average temperature degrees in the northern area of ​​the city is up to 45, while in the other areas it is between 42 and 43 degrees Celsius, in cases of extreme heat regularly.

“We do not rule out current conditions such as climate change, but in the particular case of this issue, the main reason is the rapid growth of the area and the large number of constructions, that is, the high presence of concrete, commercial plazas, parking lots, and shopping centers”, added the meteorologist.

He also indicated that the “concrete” factor can be observed from the changes in the weather measurement stations that are distributed across the city: the parameters in the northern zone change when leaving that point.

“A clear example is that while the measurement in the northern area of ​​the city is high in terms of temperature, when you cross the Periférico, the temperature immediately drops, which reinforces the idea that the “Concrete Factor” is an indicator of the high temperatures in northern Merida,” he explained.

In Solís Palma’s book, it is detailed that “according to statistical information from the meteorological observatory of the city of Mérida, in the last 10 years the absolute maximum temperature record in the state capital has grown twice since records are being kept.

“On May 1, 2009 there were 43.5 ° C, and then, in April 2015, 43.6 ° C. This condition may be associated with global warming, but it also has a lot to do with the growth of the city.”

The specialist explained that near the facilities of the Center for Scientific Research of Yucatan (CICY), the sector station detected a record temperature of 46.5 degrees, on April 27, 2002, precisely the year Hurricane Isidoro devastated the Peninsula (September 2002).

“It is important that measures be taken constantly, since, if the heat island in Mérida continues to grow, in the next few years we could reach temperatures above 45 ° C, a range that could become quite dangerous for the inhabitants of the White City, ‘ Palma Solís continued.

“The islands of heat are characterized by a notable temperature difference observed between densely occupied and built urban spaces compared to its periphery” stated the specialist, and he added that the spatial distribution of heat island temperatures are concentric or dome-shaped, if we make a cross-section over the city.

That is, if we are standing where more constructions and mass of concrete are located, the temperatures will be much higher than in the periphery, where there are less constructions and more vegetation.

“To regulate this increase in temperatures and growth of the heat island in Mérida it is important to reforest, since the trees cast a shadow and cool the temperature by not allowing high heat absorption by the surface”, he assured.

“It is also necessary to rehabilitate green areas with grass and plants. Historically, temperatures have undergone modifications where the urban area has spread, with the evident presence of growth in public works across the city. A clear example is that of the weather station located near the International Airport of Merida. Before that station was on the outskirts of the city. For that reason it was placed there. But the city has grown, and the average temperature in that area has gone up too, ”he said.

“The weather stations are a clear example of these cases, and the Conagua meteorological observatory, which has been already “absorbed” by the city, is one of them. This enclosure has been operating for approximately 50 years near the airport grounds, and back in the 1960s, it was totally outside Mérida” Palma Solís stated.

Finally, he stressed that more orderly growth is required, and reiterated that the city needs larger green areas featuring trees and lush vegetation.

The Yucatan Times Newsroom



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