Urban heat islands (UHIs) are the result of the urban core of a city encountering temperatures that are warmer than the surrounding rural areas. Temperature in the urban core can be 2-5°C warmer during the day and as much as 10°C warmer at night compared to outlying areas. This modification of the local climate can contribute to significant health-related impacts during heat waves, increased energy consumption, a decrease in air quality, deteriorating urban ecosystems, and enhancing the thermal pollution into urban water bodies. To understand the mechanisms contributing to the formation of UHIs and to identify sound mitigation strategies requires examining the UHIs of cities around the world to look for factors that enhance or minimize the heat island effect. Numerous factors influence the strength of the UHI, and vary from city to city. Population size and density influence the magnitude and spatial extent of the UHI. The ecosystem in which the city resides affects the rural climatology. Regional weather patterns can also influence the development of UHIs, with the frequency of certain types of weather conducive to the development of strong UHIs. Local geography such as proximity to water bodies and topography can influence UHI development. Cultural and regional influences such as the use of certain types of building materials, architecture, and the density of vegetation can all contribute towards the strength of a city's UHI. To better understand how UHIs develop and to understand the factors that influence them, we have undertaken the Islands in the Sun project, which includes an analysis of the UHIs of the largest cities in the world. In this study we examine how different factors have influenced the structure of the UHI and to identify factors that can mitigate and minimize their impact. Here we present a preliminary analysis of four metropolitan areas: Minneapolis-St. Paul, Buenos Aires, Riyadh, and Jakarta. In this study we investigate how various factors define a city's UHI. The cities presented here include some of the factors that can influence the UHI signal. The magnitude, diurnal and seasonal variability of the UHI is examined in each city through temperature records and satellite imagery. The UHIs are analyzed to assess the influences of the local geography and meteorology, the ecosystem in which the city resides, and the nature of the built environment. Because the Minneapolis-St. Paul region contains numerous water bodies, special emphasis is placed on the impact of its UHI on thermal pollution.
AGU Fall Meeting Abstracts
- Pub Date:
- December 2012
- 0493 BIOGEOSCIENCES / Urban systems;
- 1610 GLOBAL CHANGE / Atmosphere;
- 1632 GLOBAL CHANGE / Land cover change