Quantifying the influence of land-use and surface characteristics on spatial variability in the urban heat island

Melissa A. Hart, David Sailor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

181 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The urban thermal environment varies not only from its rural surroundings but also within the urban area due to intra-urban differences in land-use and surface characteristics. Understanding the causes of this intra-urban variability is a first step in improving urban planning and development. Toward this end, a method for quantifying causes of spatial variability in the urban heat island has been developed. This paper presents the method as applied to a specific test case of Portland, Oregon. Vehicle temperature traverses were used to determine spatial differences in summertime ∼2 m air temperature across the metropolitan area in the afternoon. A tree-structured regression model was used to quantify the land-use and surface characteristics that have the greatest influence on daytime UHI intensity. The most important urban characteristic separating warmer from cooler regions of the Portland metropolitan area was canopy cover. Roadway area density was also an important determinant of local UHI magnitudes. Specifically, the air above major arterial roads was found to be warmer on weekdays than weekends, possibly due to increased anthropogenic activity from the vehicle sector on weekdays. In general, warmer regions of the city were associated with industrial and commercial land-use. The downtown core, whilst warmer than the rural surroundings, was not the warmest part of the Portland metropolitan area. This is thought to be due in large part to local shading effects in the urban canyons.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)397-406
Number of pages10
JournalTheoretical and Applied Climatology
Volume95
Issue number3-4
DOIs
StatePublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes

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heat island
metropolitan area
land surface
land use
shading
canyon
human activity
air temperature
urban area
canopy
road
air
temperature
method
vehicle

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science

Cite this

Quantifying the influence of land-use and surface characteristics on spatial variability in the urban heat island. / Hart, Melissa A.; Sailor, David.

In: Theoretical and Applied Climatology, Vol. 95, No. 3-4, 2009, p. 397-406.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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