January 28, 2013 10:05:11 AM
WASHINGTON -- Heat rising up from cities such as New York, Paris and Tokyo might be remotely warming up winters far away in some rural parts of Alaska, Canada, and Siberia, a surprising study theorizes.
In an unusual twist, that same urban heat from buildings and cars may be slightly cooling the autumns in much of the Western United States, Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean, according to the study published Sunday in the scientific journal Nature Climate Change.
Meteorologists long have known that cities are warmer than rural areas, with the heat of buildings and cars, along with asphalt and roofs that absorb heat.
That's called the urban heat island effect and it's long been thought that the heat stayed close to the cities.
■ Nature Climate Change: nature.com/nclimate