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Observing and Modeling the Nocturnal Park Cool Island of an Arid City: Horizontal and Vertical Impacts

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We examined the horizontal and vertical nocturnal cooling influence of a small park with irrigated lawn and xeric surfaces (∼3 ha) within a university campus of a hot arid city. Temperature data from 0.01- to 3-m heights observed during a

We examined the horizontal and vertical nocturnal cooling influence of a small park with irrigated lawn and xeric surfaces (∼3 ha) within a university campus of a hot arid city. Temperature data from 0.01- to 3-m heights observed during a bicycle traverse of the campus were combined with modeled spatial temperature data simulated from a three-dimensional microclimate model (ENVI-met 3.1). A distinct park cool island, with mean observed magnitudes of 0.7–3.6°C, was documented for both traverse and model data with larger cooling intensities measured closer to surface level. Modeled results possessed varying but generally reasonable accuracy in simulating both spatial and temporal temperature data, although some systematic errors exist. A combination of several factors, such as variations in surface thermal properties, urban geometry, building orientation, and soil moisture, was likely responsible for influencing differential urban and non-urban near-surface temperatures. A strong inversion layer up to 1 m over non-urban surfaces was detected, contrasting with near-neutral lapse rates over urban surfaces. A key factor in the spatial expansion of the park cool island was the advection of cooler park air to adjacent urban surfaces, although this effect was mostly concentrated from 0- to 1-m heights over urban surfaces that were more exposed to the atmosphere.

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2010-05-21

Reductions in Air Conditioning Energy Caused by a Nearby Park

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Field observations were carried out to determine the influence of a park on the urban summer climate in the nearby areas. The possibilities of reduction in air conditioning energy were investigated. Air temperature, relative humidity and other meteorological factors were

Field observations were carried out to determine the influence of a park on the urban summer climate in the nearby areas. The possibilities of reduction in air conditioning energy were investigated. Air temperature, relative humidity and other meteorological factors were measured at many locations inside a park and in the surrounding areas in the Tama New Town, a city in the west of the Tokyo Metropolitan Area, Japan. The observations indicated that vegetation could significantly alter the climate in the town. At noon, the highest temperature of the ground surface of the grass field in the park was 40.3 °C, which was 19 °C lower than that of the asphalt surface or 15 °C lower than that of the concrete surface in the parking or commercial areas. At the same time, air temperature measured at 1.2 m above the ground at the grass field inside the park was more than 2 °C lower than that measured at the same height in the surrounding commercial and parking areas. Soon after sunset, the temperature of the ground surface at the grass field in the park became lower than that of the air, and the park became a cool island whereas paved asphalt or concrete surfaces in the town remained hotter than the overlying air even late at night. With a size of about 0.6 km2, at noon, the park can reduce by up to 1.5 °C the air temperature in a busy commercial area 1 km downwind. This can lead to a significant decrease of in air conditioning energy in the commercial area.

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1998-05-27

The Tale of Two Climates: Baltimore and Phoenix Urban LTER Sites

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Two Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) sites now include urban areas (Baltimore, Maryland and Phoenix, Arizona). A goal of LTER in these cities is to blend physical and social science investigations to better understand urban ecological change. Research monitoring programs are

Two Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) sites now include urban areas (Baltimore, Maryland and Phoenix, Arizona). A goal of LTER in these cities is to blend physical and social science investigations to better understand urban ecological change. Research monitoring programs are underway to investigate the effects of urbanization on ecosystems. Climate changes in these urban areas reflect the expanding population and associated land surface modifications. Long-term urban climate effects are detectable from an analysis of the GHCN (Global Historical Climate Network) database and a comparison of urban versus rural temperature changes with decadal population data. The relation of the urban versus rural minimum temperatures (Tminu-r) to population changes is pronounced and non-linear over time for both cities. The Tmaxu-r data show no well-defined temporal trends.

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2000-07-20

Seasonal Hydroclimatic Impacts of Sun Corridor Expansion

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Conversion of natural to urban land forms imparts influence on local and regional hydroclimate via modification of the surface energy and water balance, and consideration of such effects due to rapidly expanding megapolitan areas is necessary in light of the

Conversion of natural to urban land forms imparts influence on local and regional hydroclimate via modification of the surface energy and water balance, and consideration of such effects due to rapidly expanding megapolitan areas is necessary in light of the growing global share of urban inhabitants. Based on a suite of ensemble-based, multi-year simulations using the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model, we quantify seasonally varying hydroclimatic impacts of the most rapidly expanding megapolitan area in the US: Arizona's Sun Corridor, centered upon the Greater Phoenix metropolitan area. Using a scenario-based urban expansion approach that accounts for the full range of Sun Corridor growth uncertainty through 2050, we show that built environment induced warming for the maximum development scenario is greatest during the summer season (regionally averaged warming over AZ exceeds 1 °C).

Warming remains significant during the spring and fall seasons (regionally averaged warming over AZ approaches 0.9 °C during both seasons), and is least during the winter season (regionally averaged warming over AZ of 0.5 °C). Impacts from a minimum expansion scenario are reduced, with regionally averaged warming ranging between 0.1 and 0.3 °C for all seasons except winter, when no warming impacts are diagnosed. Integration of highly reflective cool roofs within the built environment, increasingly recognized as a cost-effective option intended to offset the warming influence of urban complexes, reduces urban-induced warming considerably. However, impacts on the hydrologic cycle are aggravated via enhanced evapotranspiration reduction, leading to a 4% total accumulated precipitation decrease relative to the non-adaptive maximum expansion scenario. Our results highlight potentially unintended consequences of this adaptation approach within rapidly expanding megapolitan areas, and emphasize the need for undeniably sustainable development paths that account for hydrologic impacts in addition to continued focus on mean temperature effects.

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2012-09-07

Quantifying the Influence of Land-Use and Surface Characteristics on Spatial Variability in the Urban Heat Island

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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

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.

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2008-05-07

Urban Adaptation Can Roll Back Warming of Emerging Megapolitan Regions

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Modeling results incorporating several distinct urban expansion futures for the United States in 2100 show that, in the absence of any adaptive urban design, megapolitan expansion, alone and separate from greenhouse gas-induced forcing, can be expected to raise near-surface temperatures

Modeling results incorporating several distinct urban expansion futures for the United States in 2100 show that, in the absence of any adaptive urban design, megapolitan expansion, alone and separate from greenhouse gas-induced forcing, can be expected to raise near-surface temperatures 1–2 °C not just at the scale of individual cities but over large regional swaths of the country. This warming is a significant fraction of the 21st century greenhouse gas-induced climate change simulated by global climate models. Using a suite of regional climate simulations, we assessed the efficacy of commonly proposed urban adaptation strategies, such as green, cool roof, and hybrid approaches, to ameliorate the warming. Our results quantify how judicious choices in urban planning and design cannot only counteract the climatological impacts of the urban expansion itself but also, can, in fact, even offset a significant percentage of future greenhouse warming over large scales. Our results also reveal tradeoffs among different adaptation options for some regions, showing the need for geographically appropriate strategies rather than one size fits all solutions.

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2014-02-25

Prioritizing Urban Sustainability Solutions: Coordinated Approaches Must Incorporate Scale-Dependent Built Environment Induced Effects

Description

Because of a projected surge of several billion urban inhabitants by mid-century, a rising urgency exists to advance local and strategically deployed measures intended to ameliorate negative consequences on urban climate (e.g., heat stress, poor air quality, energy/water availability). Here

Because of a projected surge of several billion urban inhabitants by mid-century, a rising urgency exists to advance local and strategically deployed measures intended to ameliorate negative consequences on urban climate (e.g., heat stress, poor air quality, energy/water availability). Here we highlight the importance of incorporating scale-dependent built environment induced solutions within the broader umbrella of urban sustainability outcomes, thereby accounting for fundamental physical principles. Contemporary and future design of settlements demands cooperative participation between planners, architects, and relevant stakeholders, with the urban and global climate community, which recognizes the complexity of the physical systems involved and is ideally fit to quantitatively examine the viability of proposed solutions. Such participatory efforts can aid the development of locally sensible approaches by integrating across the socioeconomic and climatic continuum, therefore providing opportunities facilitating comprehensive solutions that maximize benefits and limit unintended consequences.

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2015-06-09

The Urban Heat Island Effect and City Contiguity

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The spatial configuration of cities can affect how urban environments alter local energy balances. Previous studies have reached the paradoxical conclusions that both sprawling and high-density urban development can amplify urban heat island intensities, which has prevented consensus on how

The spatial configuration of cities can affect how urban environments alter local energy balances. Previous studies have reached the paradoxical conclusions that both sprawling and high-density urban development can amplify urban heat island intensities, which has prevented consensus on how best to mitigate the urban heat island effect via urban planning. To investigate this apparent dichotomy, we estimated the urban heat island intensities of the 50 most populous cities in the United States using gridded minimum temperature data sets and quantified each city's urban morphology with spatial metrics. The results indicated that the spatial contiguity of urban development, regardless of its density or degree of sprawl,was a critical factor that influenced the magnitude of the urban heat island effect. A ten percentage point increase in urban spatial contiguity was predicted to enhance the minimum temperature annual average urban heat island intensity by between 0.3 and 0.4 °C. Therefore, city contiguity should be considered when devising strategies for urban heat island mitigation, with more discontiguous development likely to ameliorate the urban heat island effect. Unraveling how urban morphology influences urban heat island intensity is paramount given the human health consequences associated with the continued growth of urban populations in the future.

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2015-09-12

Desert New Urbanism: Testing for Comfort in Downtown Tempe, Arizona

Description

Outdoor human comfort is determined for the remodelled downtown of Tempe, Arizona, USA, an acclaimed example of New Urbanist infill. The authors desired to know whether changes were accompanied by more comfortable conditions, especially in hot, dry summer months. The

Outdoor human comfort is determined for the remodelled downtown of Tempe, Arizona, USA, an acclaimed example of New Urbanist infill. The authors desired to know whether changes were accompanied by more comfortable conditions, especially in hot, dry summer months. The physiological equivalent temperature provided an assessment of year-round outdoor human comfort. Building compactness and tree shade that became part of the changes in the downtown provided more overall daytime human comfort than open nearby streets; however some downtown sites were less comfortable at night, but below 40°C, a threshold for human comfort in this desert environment.

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2016-06-01