Tag Archives: urban heat island effect

Heat island effect on surface temperature measurements underestimated

R.D. Leeper, J. Kochendorfer, T. Henderson, M.A. Palecki. Impacts of Small-Scale Urban Encroachment on Air Temperature Observations. Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology. https://doi.org/10.1175/JAMC-D-19-0002.1

A field experiment was performed in Oak Ridge, TN, with four instrumented towers placed over grass at increasing distances (4, 30, 50, 124, and 300 m) from a built-up area. Stations were aligned in such a way to simulate the impact of small-scale encroachment on temperature observations. As expected, temperature observations were warmest for the site closest to the built environment with an average temperature difference of 0.31 and 0.24 °C for aspirated and unaspirated sensors respectively. Mean aspirated temperature differences were greater during the evening (0.47 °C) than day (0.16 °C). This was particularly true for evenings following greater daytime solar insolation (20+ MJDay−1) with surface winds from the direction of the built environment where mean differences exceeded 0.80 °C. The impact of the built environment on air temperature diminished with distance with a warm bias only detectable out to tower-B’ located 50 meters away.

The experimental findings were comparable to a known case of urban encroachment at a U. S. Climate Reference Network station in Kingston, RI. The experimental and operational results both lead to reductions in the diurnal temperature range of ~0.39 °C for fan aspirated sensors. Interestingly, the unaspirated sensor had a larger reduction in DTR of 0.48 °C. These results suggest that small-scale urban encroachment within 50 meters of a station can have important impacts on daily temperature extrema (maximum and minimum) with the magnitude of these differences dependent upon prevailing environmental conditions and sensing technology.

Urban heat island effect is a function of urbanization

“Since Oke there has been considerable progress in understanding the complex phenomena of UHI and the science has moved beyond the simple approach of looking at population as a parameter that uniquely determines UHI. If everyone leaves a city, it will still have UHI.” click here

Surface temperature measurements confounded by urbanization around weather stations

“I’ve been saying for years that surface temperature measurements (and long term trends) have been affected by encroachment of urbanization on the placement of weather stations used to measure surface air temperature, and track long term climate. In doing so we found some hilariously bad examples of climate science in action, such as the official USHCN climate monitoring station at the University of Arizona, Tucson “ click here (from WUWT)

Urban heat island effect significantly increased UK temperatures

“This paper finds through the method of observation minus reanalysis that urbanisation has significantly increased the daily minimum 2‐m temperature in the United Kingdom by up to 1.70 K.” click here

Japan record high temperatures due to urban heat sinks

“It turns out that the record temperature that the media like the Times got all excited about has little to do with global warming, but likely a lot more with the urban heat island effect, where nearby asphalt, steel and concrete act as huge summertime heat sinks and so distort the readings of nearby instruments.” click here

Urban heat island effect may shield cities from extreme cold

Jiachuan Yang and Elie Bou-Zeid. Should Cities Embrace Their Heat Islands as Shields from Extreme Cold? JAMC, https://doi.org/10.1175/JAMC-D-17-0265.1

The higher temperature in cities relative to their rural surroundings, known as the urban heat island (UHI), is one of the most well documented and severe anthropogenic modifications of the environment. Heat islands are hazardous to residents and the sustainability of cities during summertime and heat waves; on the other hand, they provide considerable benefits in wintertime. Yet, the evolution of UHIs during cold waves has not yet been explored. In this study, ground-based observations from 12 U.S. cities and high-resolution weather simulations show that UHIs not only warm urban areas in the winter but also further intensify during cold waves by up to 1.32° ± 0.78°C (mean ± standard deviation) at night relative to precedent and subsequent periods. Anthropogenic heat released from building heating is found to contribute more than 30% of the UHI intensification. UHIs thus serve as shelters against extreme-cold events and provide benefits that include mitigating cold hazard and reducing heating demand. More important, simulations indicate that standard UHI mitigation measures such as green or cool roofs reduce these cold-wave benefits to different extents. Cities, particularly in cool and cold temperate climates, should hence revisit their policies to favor (existing) mitigation approaches that are effective only during hot periods.