Nocturnal cooling of urban areas governs the evolution of thermal state and many thermal-driven environmental issues in cities, especially those suffer strong urban heat island (UHI) effect. Advances in the fundamental understanding of the underlying physics of nighttime UHI involve disentangling complex contributing effects and remains an open challenge. In this study, we develop new numerical algorithms to characterize the thermodynamics of urban nocturnal cooling based on solving the energy balance equations for both the landscape surface and the overlying atmosphere. Further, a scaling law is proposed to relate the UHI intensity to a range of governing mechanisms, including the vertical and horizontal transport of heat in the surface layer, the urban-rural breeze, and the possible urban expansion. The accuracy of proposed methods is evaluated against in-situ urban measurements collected in cities with different geographic and climatic conditions. It is found that the vertical and horizontal contributors modulate the nocturnal UHI at distinct elevation in the atmospheric boundary layer.
- Environmental science
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