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Sydney temperatures to rise by nearly 4 degrees by 2050: researchers

Tuesday July 9, 2013 - 14:12 EST

Researchers believe temperatures in Sydney could rise by almost 4 degrees Celsius by 2050, with urban developments on the city's outskirts expected to fare the worst.

The Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science at the University of New South Wales has examined the "urban heat island effect", or how heat builds up in urban environments.

The researchers say that when combined with global warming, new areas on the fringes of Sydney could see temperatures rise by up to 3.7 degrees by 2050.

Lead researcher Daniel Argueso says urban areas closer to the CBD will get up to 2.5 degrees warmer.

"These changes have already been happening in areas we have built but it's been little by little, and there hasn't been a massive change in the night temperature due to climate change," he said.

"It's a combination of the expansion of places that are rural becoming urban, and climate change in those areas."

It is believed the temperature increases will be most noticeable at night, as structures that have accumulated heat throughout the day release it.

The researchers say urban planners need to include more trees, bodies of water and parks to mitigate temperature rise.

Mr Argueso says temperatures will increase across the city if rural areas keep being converted into dense urban environments.

"We should think of placing more parks, placing more green covers and maybe reduce the density and the distribution of the buildings," he said.

"Also, locate areas that provide a source of water, like ponds or water surfaces, that might have to evaporate some water and provide a cool effect."


© ABC 2013

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