Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

UGA study ranks US cities based on the urban heat island effect on temperatures

21.09.2015

Inner cities as well as suburbs show distinctly warmer temperatures--known as the urban heat island effect--than rural areas as a result of land use and human activities, which can affect rainfall, air quality and public health.

A University of Georgia study using a new method for calculating urban heat island intensities clarifies the conflict on whether urban density or sprawl amplify these effects more. It also provides a ranking of the top urban heat island cities among the 50 largest metropolitan statistical areas.


This graphic shows the annual average urban heat island effect in 2010.

Credit: University of Georgia

The urban heat island effect describes how the spatial configuration of cities, the materials in them (such as asphalt), lack of vegetation and waste heat can modify temperature.

The study, published in the journal Computers, Environment and Urban Systems, identifies Salt Lake City, Miami and Louisville as the top three urban heat island cities in the U.S.

Urban morphology--the patterns of a city's physical configuration and the process of its development--has long been associated with the formation of urban heat islands. By examining the UHI intensities of 50 cities with various urban morphologies, the researchers evaluated the degree to which city configuration influences the UHI effect.

"The overall goal of our study was to clarify which urban form--sprawl or more-dense development--is most appropriate for UHI mitigation," said the study's lead author Neil Debbage, doctoral student in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences' department of geography.

The study establishes a method for estimating UHI intensities using PRISM--Parameter-elevation Relationships on Independent Slopes Model--climate data, an analytical model that creates gridded estimates by incorporating climatic variables (temperature and precipitation), expert knowledge of climatic events (rain shadows, temperature inversions and coastal regimes) and digital elevation.

The use of spatially gridded temperature data, rather than urban versus rural point comparisons, represents a new method for calculating a city's canopy heat island intensity. The results identify the spatial contiguity of developed areas as a significant factor influencing the magnitude of the heat island effect.

"Not just whether cities have high-density development, but how the built infrastructure is connected--and disconnected by green spaces--has a great impact on heat island intensity," said study co-author Marshall Shepherd, the UGA Athletic Association Distinguished Professor of Geography and Atmospheric Sciences.

"We found that more contiguous sprawling and dense urban development both enhanced UHI intensities. In other words, it does not appear to be a simplistic either-or situation regarding sprawl or density," Debbage said.

The researchers hope the results can help influence local governments and city planners in the formulation of effective codes and policies to mitigate the urban heat island effect.

"It's crucial to work toward a better understanding of the complex processes at the intersection of urbanization, climate and human health," Shepherd said. "Current and future cities will be modified or designed with weather and climate in mind, and research at UGA will play a key role.

###

The study on "The Urban Heat Island Effect and City Contiguity" is available at http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0198971515300089.

Media Contact

Neil Debbage
debbage@uga.edu
706-542-2926

 @universityofga

http://www.uga.edu 

Neil Debbage | EurekAlert!

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology
22.06.2017 | Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft

nachricht How reliable are shells as climate archives?
21.06.2017 | Leibniz-Zentrum für Marine Tropenforschung (ZMT)

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Study shines light on brain cells that coordinate movement

26.06.2017 | Life Sciences

Smooth propagation of spin waves using gold

26.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Switchable DNA mini-machines store information

26.06.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>