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Investigating the Urban Heat Island Effect with a Collaborative Inquiry Project
Journal of Geoscience Education
  • Linda Acha George, Portland State University
  • William G. Becker, Portland State University
Document Type
Publication Date
  • Urbanization -- Oregon -- Portland,
  • Urbanization -- Environmental aspects,
  • Urban heat island -- Environmental aspects

Modification of the earth's surface through urbanization can have a dramatic impact on local climate. A phenomenon known as the Urban Heat Island (UHI) effect, which is a measure of the near-surface air temperature contrast between urbanized and adjoining rural areas, can be evaluated with readily available instruments. Students in an undergraduate general education science course study this phenomenon in the Portland, Oregon area through a collaborative research project. This inquiry project includes background content and literature review, preliminary studies, development of research questions, experimental design and implementation, data analysis and report writing. This project successfully enables students to collaboratively generate a data set that is amenable to sophisticated and interesting analysis and provides an opportunity to study a phenomenon in their local environment.


Published by the National Association of Geoscience Teachers

Persistent Identifier
Citation Information
L.A. George and W. Becker, "Investigating the Urban Heat Island Effect", Journal of Geoscience Education, 51(2) 237-243 2003.