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Urban heat loss ‘major influence on climate change’, concludes OU study

A study led by The Open University has concluded that man-made heat loss is one of the main contributing factors to national temperature variations.

Published in the American Geophysical Union (AGU)  journal, Earth’s Future, and developed in collaboration with the University of Edinburgh, ‘From Urban to National Heat Island’ has established a strong correlation between the expansion of urban infrastructure and the urban landscapes of a nation, and the general increase in temperatures.

Senior Research Fellow at The Open University and co-author of the study, Dr John Murray, said:

“Heat output has until now been largely ignored by climate prediction models. This study shows that man-made heat loss from buildings, industry and transport can have a major influence on climate change. 89% of Britain’s temperature variation alone* in the past 50 years is the result of man-made heat.

“Governments have to consider their overall energy consumption if they want to successfully combat climate change.”

An in-depth article on the study is available on the AGU Blogosphere:


*This figure refers to Britain’s temperature variation above background levels

Photo by Gential LAMBERT

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About Author

Christine is a manager in the Media Relations team within the Marcomms Unit at the OU. She is an experienced BBC journalist, sub-editor and news editor and has a background in regional newspapers. After moving to PR she worked as a press officer for the Zoological Society of London. She is doing an MA in Philosophy with The Open University; she focuses on FASS stories and widening access in HE. Chris swims regularly and has a pet Tortoise called Lightning.

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