Austin – Introduction

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IT gets hot in Texas. The state’s capital, Austin, experienced 90 days at temperatures higher than 100 degrees Fahrenheit in 2011[1], and each summer, the city basks in sunlight 75 percent of the time.[2] With city buildings and paved streets reflecting back this sunshine and heat, temperatures in Austin can be two to nine degrees hotter than in the surrounding countryside — a phenomenon known as an urban heat island. In 2001, Austin’s city council recognized this problem in the capital and passed a resolution implementing a Heat Island Containment Policy, which created new initiatives for combating extra heat in the city.[3] Many of these initiatives revolved around trees, some of nature’s best temperature regulators.


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[1] National Weather Service Regional Office. Southern Region Headquarters. 100 Degree Days for the Southern Plains for 2011. (accessed Aug. 16, 2012).

[2] National Weather Service Regional Office. Southern Region Headquarters. Austin Climate Summary. (accessed Aug. 16, 2012).

[3] Austin City Council. Resolution No. 010517-27 Heat Island Mitigation. Adopted May 17, 2001.