The average temperature in HCM City has been increasing rapidly and steadily in the last three decades, while the gap between the temperature of the city and neighboring areas has widened.
HCM City dwellers all say that they can clearly feel it is getting hotter and muggier. Experts have blamed this on the rapid and uncontrolled urbanization process, which has put the city under the influence of the urban heat island effect.
Hot in daytime and at night
HCM City is experiencing the hottest days in the year. The average temperature always stays firmly high at 36-37oC, while the outdoor temperature reaches 38-39oC, which has turned HCM City into a “hotbed”. Local residents only go out when necessary, while they have to hide themselves behind thick clothes to avoid the heat and sun. All the verdure areas in the city have been used by local residents to get some fresh air.
According to the meteorological station in the southern region, the spell of heat started in March and would last until mid May. This means that the city residents would have to cope with the hot weather for at least 1 month more.
Le Thi Xuan Lan, an officer of the station, said that the temperature at noon reaches 36oC and would reach 37-38oC in the days to come. Meanwhile, the temperature on the Hanoi Highway or the Highway No. 1A would be even higher, at 39oC.
Nguyen Minh Giam, Deputy Director of the meteorological station, said that concrete houses have risen so rapidly in recent years, while the verdure areas remain modest, which has made people feel hotter.
“The temperatures of 36-37oC maintains all the day, and it is also very hot at night. Especially, the districts 1, 3, 4, 5, 10 and 11 are the hottest areas in the city due to the lack of verdure area,” Giam said.
A recent research work showed that in the last 30 years, the average temperature in HCM City has increased by 1oC, while the temperatures have been increasing very slowly in neighboring localities, including the Mekong Delta and Xuan Loc town in Dong Nai province.
“This means that the temperature has increased in HCM City because of the city’s conditions, not because of the climate change,” Lan said.
Urbanization creates hotbeds
Experts have pointed out that the uncontrolled urbanization in HCM City has heated up the city every day. As a result, the city is bearing the serious influences of the urban heat island effect.
The surface concrete area has become very large, while the water surface and verdure areas have decreased. Therefore, the heat rushed down to the city cannot be absorbed by trees. This is also the reason which explains why there have been more and more heavier tropical rains in the city.
According to Dr Luu Duc Cuong from the Ministry of Construction, the urbanization process over the last 14 years has led to the disappearance of 47 canals with the total area of 16.4 hectares, while 7.4 hectares of the Binh Tien Lake have been filled up for building houses. The area of parks, gardens has decreased dramatically by 50 percent to 535 hectares.
“The uncontrolled urbanization is one of the most important reasons behind the flooding in HCM City,” Cuong said.
Meanwhile, the volume of heat emission to the air has increased sharply due to the rapid population increase, thus leading to the sharp increases in the number of transport means and air conditioners.