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Saturday, June 2, 2012

Power-saving eased heat island effect in Tokyo last year


The heat island effect in Tokyo last July was less remarkable than that of the previous year, apparently thanks to energy-saving efforts to cope with power shortages sparked by the Fukushima disaster that started the previous March, a research team says.

The gaps between the average temperatures in central Tokyo and its suburbs last July were up to 0.67 of a degree less than in July 2010, according to a team led by Teikyo University professor Takehiko Mikami.

The heat island effect apparently eased because companies and households made less use of air conditioners and other appliances, Mikami said. "Cuts in electricity use might have been larger in central Tokyo where many power-consuming office buildings are located," he said.

The research will be reported to a meeting of the Meteorological Society of Japan in Tsukuba, Ibaraki Prefecture, on Sunday.

Tokyo's average temperature has climbed by about 3 degrees over the past century, and the heat island effect is believed responsible for 66 percent of the rise.

While power-saving efforts bore fruit in some areas, companies are facing a pressing need to arrange contingency plans to minimize the impact of any power shortages.

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