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An urban heat island is a phenomenon that is best described when a city experiences much warmer temperatures than in nearby rural areas. The sun’s heat and light reach the city and the country in the same way. The difference in temperature between urban and less-developed rural areas has to do with how well the surfaces in each environment absorb and hold heat.






The radar measurements made by NASA's Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) observatory are sensitive to whether land surfaces are frozen or thawed. Students analyze two maps of SMAP data to make inferences about changes to the Arctic's Geosphere showing spring thaw.



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