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Why the Lower East Side is Hotter Than the Upper East Side

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Over the past two summers, scientists have been trying to better understand the city's microclimates, meaning learning how, why, and where temperatures change throughout Manhattan. While the variation is minor, mostly within four degrees, there's a case to be made for identifying heat trends: WNYC says that some scientists have discovered that a one-degree shift can translate into a difference of about 1.5 percent of the city's heat-induced mortality rate. That means understanding the subtle differences in temperature throughout the city could save dozens of lives. Here's what the researchers at City College, lead by Brian Van-Hult, have found: the city's low points like the Lower East Side and East Harlem are hotter than higher points like the Upper East Side; east-west cross-streets can be as much as 1.5 degree cooler because they are mostly in the shade; avenues tend to be hotter than streets due to something called a "light box" effect, in which sun is reflected off of tall buildings and down into the street. How cool is that?
· Beware the Light Box Effect—and Other Secrets of NYC's Microclimates [WNYC]
· Fine Scale Mapping of Manhattan's Urban Heat Island [CCNY]
· Cool Map Thing archives [Curbed]