Impacts of mesic and xeric urban vegetation on outdoor thermal comfort and microclimate in Phoenix, AZ

Jiyun Song, Zhihua Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


Urban vegetation is an effective way in mitigating excessive heat and improving the outdoor thermal environment for residents in cities via evaporative cooling. Different urban vegetation forms (mesic or xeric) alter surface energy and water budgets in different ways, which is further complicated by interactions with buildings and anthropogenic controls. Mesic vegetation such as lawns reduces urban temperatures by evaporative cooling but requires large amounts of water for continuous irrigation. On the other hand, xeric vegetation such as shade trees reduces urban temperatures mainly through shading and has low water demand. The objective of this study is to investigate the impacts of different vegetation forms on microclimate in a hot desert city - Phoenix, AZ. We applied an advanced urban canopy model coupled with a single-column atmospheric model to simulate urban boundary layer dynamics over different landscaping scenarios with different combinations of mesic and xeric vegetation forms. We subsequently compared the urban land surface temperatures, near-surface air temperatures, outdoor thermal comfort in the urban canopy layer, as well as atmospheric dynamics (temperature, humidity) in the overlying boundary layer for a set of different scenarios.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)558-568
Number of pages11
JournalBuilding and Environment
StatePublished - Dec 1 2015


  • Evapotranspiration
  • Mesic and xeric landscapes
  • Radiative shading
  • Thermal comfort
  • Urban boundary layer
  • Urban vegetation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Building and Construction


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