- Analysis of the framing of the urban heat island effect in media sources relevant to the Sydney area was undertaken.
- Media reporting of local government actions to mitigate urban heat was positive in both local and national print media.
- Urban greening was favored as a positive mitigation strategy in the three most frequently identified frames.
- The urban heat island effect was used by climate deniers as an alternative explanation for climate change.
- Linguistically the urban heat island effect was referred to with some degree of uncertainty and/ or ambiguity
The effects of climate change and urban heat islands are predicted to grow and compound in the future. In the context of urban heat becoming an increasing problem, this article explores the extent to which this is recognised in media. Our findings show that the issue of the urban heat island (UHI) effect appeared on media agendas over the period studied and that predominantly the issue of UHI was framed in four ways. The top-down mitigation frame focused on the proactive approach of local governments while highlighting inaction at state and national levels. The bottom-up mitigation frame presented a patchwork approach to dealing with UHI with a positive focus on the mitigation actions of individuals and the private sector, while the risks and vulnerabilities frame looked at the distribution and mapping of the health risks posed by the phenomena. However, the media analysis also highlighted two factors which have potentially negative consequences regarding science communication and citizen understandings of science. These are the ambiguous and/or cautious manner in which the UHI effect is referred to and the use of UHI as an alternative argument to climate change in the climate change debate frame.