According to the study, published in the journal Science Advances, an analysis of temperature and census data from 16 major U.S. cities showed that people living in urban areas experienced an average temperature of 1.9 degrees Celsius higher than predicted, while Salt Lake City experienced a maximum of 3.8 degrees Celsius. This is largely due to the urban heat island effect. For example, materials commonly used on roads and roofs in urban areas absorb more solar radiation than natural surfaces.
Salt Lake City Infographic
The study also found that during cold snaps, the average temperature in urban areas was 0.6 degrees Celsius higher than forecast. The researchers estimated temperature changes in the context of weather and census data, including daily commute patterns in urban areas. They found that people were more likely to underestimate exposure to heat waves in cities with wide spreads, such as Los Angeles.