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Seasonal Hydroclimatic Impacts of Sun Corridor Expansion

Description

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

Planning for Cooler Cities: A Framework to Prioritize Green Infrastructure to Mitigate High Temperatures in Urban Landscapes

Description

Warming associated with urban development will be exacerbated in future years by temperature increases due to climate change. The strategic implementation of urban green infrastructure (UGI) e.g. street trees, parks, green roofs and facades can help achieve temperature reductions in

Warming associated with urban development will be exacerbated in future years by temperature increases due to climate change. The strategic implementation of urban green infrastructure (UGI) e.g. street trees, parks, green roofs and facades can help achieve temperature reductions in urban areas while delivering diverse additional benefits such as pollution reduction and biodiversity habitat. Although the greatest thermal benefits of UGI are achieved in climates with hot, dry summers, there is comparatively little information available for land managers to determine an appropriate strategy for UGI implementation under these climatic conditions. We present a framework for prioritisation and selection of UGI for cooling. The framework is supported by a review of the scientific literature examining the relationships between urban geometry, UGI and temperature mitigation which we used to develop guidelines for UGI implementation that maximises urban surface temperature cooling. We focus particularly on quantifying the cooling benefits of four types of UGI: green open spaces (primarily public parks), shade trees, green roofs, and vertical greening systems (green walls and facades) and demonstrate how the framework can be applied using a case study from Melbourne, Australia.

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2014-11-11

Approaches to Study Urban Heat Island – Abilities and Limitations

Description

Urban Heat Island (UHI) has significant impacts on the buildings energy consumption and outdoor air quality (OAQ). Various approaches, including observation and simulation techniques, have been proposed to understand the causes of UHI formation and to find the corresponding mitigation

Urban Heat Island (UHI) has significant impacts on the buildings energy consumption and outdoor air quality (OAQ). Various approaches, including observation and simulation techniques, have been proposed to understand the causes of UHI formation and to find the corresponding mitigation strategies. However, the causes of UHI are not the same in different climates or city features. Thus, general conclusion cannot be made based on limited monitoring data.

With recent progress in computational tools, simulation methods have been used to study UHI. These approaches, however, are also not able to cover all the phenomena that simultaneously contribute to the formation of UHI. The shortcomings are mostly attributed to the weakness of the theories and computational cost.

This paper presents a review of the techniques used to study UHI. The abilities and limitations of each approach for the investigation of UHI mitigation and prediction are discussed. Treatment of important parameters including latent, sensible, storage, and anthropogenic heat in addition to treatment of radiation, effect of trees and pond, and boundary condition to simulate UHI is also presented. Finally, this paper discusses the application of integration approach as a future opportunity.

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2010-04-11

Impact of Urban Form and Design on Mid-Afternoon Microclimate in Phoenix Local Climate Zones

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This study investigates the impact of urban form and landscaping type on the mid-afternoon microclimate in semi-arid Phoenix, Arizona. The goal is to find effective urban form and design strategies to ameliorate temperatures during the summer months. We simulated near-ground

This study investigates the impact of urban form and landscaping type on the mid-afternoon microclimate in semi-arid Phoenix, Arizona. The goal is to find effective urban form and design strategies to ameliorate temperatures during the summer months. We simulated near-ground air temperatures for typical residential neighborhoods in Phoenix using the three-dimensional microclimate model ENVI-met. The model was validated using weather observations from the North Desert Village (NDV) landscape experiment, located on the Arizona State University's Polytechnic campus. The NDV is an ideal site to determine the model's input parameters, since it is a controlled environment recreating three prevailing residential landscape types in the Phoenix metropolitan area (mesic, oasis, and xeric).

After validation, we designed five neighborhoods with different urban forms that represent a realistic cross-section of typical residential neighborhoods in Phoenix. The scenarios follow the Local Climate Zone (LCZ) classification scheme after Stewart and Oke. We then combined the neighborhoods with three landscape designs and, using ENVI-met, simulated microclimate conditions for these neighborhoods for a typical summer day. Results were analyzed in terms of mid-afternoon air temperature distribution and variation, ventilation, surface temperatures, and shading. Findings show that advection is important for the distribution of within-design temperatures and that spatial differences in cooling are strongly related to solar radiation and local shading patterns. In mid-afternoon, dense urban forms can create local cool islands. Our approach suggests that the LCZ concept is useful for planning and design purposes.

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2013-12-01

Neighborhood Effects on Heat Deaths: Social and Environmental Predictors of Vulnerability in Maricopa County, Arizona

Description

Objectives: We estimated neighborhood effects of population characteristics and built and natural environments on deaths due to heat exposure in Maricopa County, Arizona (2000–2008).

Methods: We used 2000 U.S. Census data and remotely sensed vegetation and land surface temperature to construct

Objectives: We estimated neighborhood effects of population characteristics and built and natural environments on deaths due to heat exposure in Maricopa County, Arizona (2000–2008).

Methods: We used 2000 U.S. Census data and remotely sensed vegetation and land surface temperature to construct indicators of neighborhood vulnerability and a geographic information system to map vulnerability and residential addresses of persons who died from heat exposure in 2,081 census block groups. Binary logistic regression and spatial analysis were used to associate deaths with neighborhoods.

Results: Neighborhood scores on three factors—socioeconomic vulnerability, elderly/isolation, and unvegetated area—varied widely throughout the study area. The preferred model (based on fit and parsimony) for predicting the odds of one or more deaths from heat exposure within a census block group included the first two factors and surface temperature in residential neighborhoods, holding population size constant. Spatial analysis identified clusters of neighborhoods with the highest heat vulnerability scores. A large proportion of deaths occurred among people, including homeless persons, who lived in the inner cores of the largest cities and along an industrial corridor.

Conclusions: Place-based indicators of vulnerability complement analyses of person-level heat risk factors. Surface temperature might be used in Maricopa County to identify the most heat-vulnerable neighborhoods, but more attention to the socioecological complexities of climate adaptation is needed.

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2013-02-01

Residential Land Use, the Urban Heat Island, and Water Use in Phoenix: A Path Analysis

Description

While previous studies have shown that urban heat islands (UHI) tend to increase residential water use, they have not yet analyzed the feedbacks among vegetation intensity, diurnal temperature variation, water use, and characteristics of the built environment. This study examines

While previous studies have shown that urban heat islands (UHI) tend to increase residential water use, they have not yet analyzed the feedbacks among vegetation intensity, diurnal temperature variation, water use, and characteristics of the built environment. This study examines these feedback relationships with the help of a path model applied to spatially disaggregated data from Phoenix, Arizona. The empirical evidence from the observations in Phoenix suggests the following: (1) impervious surfaces contribute to increased residential water use by exacerbating UHI; (2) larger lots containing pools and mesic vegetation increase water demand by reducing diurnal temperature difference; and (3) smart design of urban environments needs to go beyond simplistic water body- and vegetation-based solutions for mitigating uncomfortably high temperatures and consider interactions between surface materials, land use, UHI, and water use.

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2010-07-08

Using Watered Landscapes to Manipulate Urban Heat Island Effects: How Much Water Will It Take to Cool Phoenix?

Description

Problem: The prospect that urban heat island (UHI) effects and climate change may increase urban temperatures is a problem for cities that actively promote urban redevelopment and higher densities. One possible UHI mitigation strategy is to plant more trees and

Problem: The prospect that urban heat island (UHI) effects and climate change may increase urban temperatures is a problem for cities that actively promote urban redevelopment and higher densities. One possible UHI mitigation strategy is to plant more trees and other irrigated vegetation to prevent daytime heat storage and facilitate nighttime cooling, but this requires water resources that are limited in a desert city like Phoenix.

Purpose: We investigated the tradeoffs between water use and nighttime cooling inherent in urban form and land use choices.

Methods: We used a Local-Scale Urban Meteorological Parameterization Scheme (LUMPS) model to examine the variation in temperature and evaporation in 10 census tracts in Phoenix's urban core. After validating results with estimates of outdoor water use based on tract-level city water records and satellite imagery, we used the model to simulate the temperature and water use consequences of implementing three different scenarios.

Results and conclusions: We found that increasing irrigated landscaping lowers nighttime temperatures, but this relationship is not linear; the greatest reductions occur in the least vegetated neighborhoods. A ratio of the change in water use to temperature impact reached a threshold beyond which increased outdoor water use did little to ameliorate UHI effects.

Takeaway for practice: There is no one design and landscape plan capable of addressing increasing UHI and climate effects everywhere. Any one strategy will have inconsistent results if applied across all urban landscape features and may lead to an inefficient allocation of scarce water resources.

Research Support: This work was supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) under Grant SES-0345945 (Decision Center for a Desert City) and by the City of Phoenix Water Services Department. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of NSF.

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2010-01-04

Tradeoffs Between Water Conservation and Temperature Amelioration In Phoenix and Portland: Implications For Urban Sustainability

Description

This study addresses a classic sustainability challenge—the tradeoff between water conservation and temperature amelioration in rapidly growing cities, using Phoenix, Arizona and Portland, Oregon as case studies. An urban energy balance model— LUMPS (Local-Scale Urban Meteorological Parameterization Scheme)—is used to

This study addresses a classic sustainability challenge—the tradeoff between water conservation and temperature amelioration in rapidly growing cities, using Phoenix, Arizona and Portland, Oregon as case studies. An urban energy balance model— LUMPS (Local-Scale Urban Meteorological Parameterization Scheme)—is used to represent the tradeoff between outdoor water use and nighttime cooling during hot, dry summer months. Tradeoffs were characterized under three scenarios of land use change and three climate-change assumptions. Decreasing vegetation density reduced outdoor water use but sacrificed nighttime cooling. Increasing vegetated surfaces accelerated nighttime cooling, but increased outdoor water use by ~20%. Replacing impervious surfaces with buildings achieved similar improvements in nighttime cooling with minimal increases in outdoor water use; it was the most water-efficient cooling strategy. The fact that nighttime cooling rates and outdoor water use were more sensitive to land use scenarios than climate-change simulations suggested that cities can adapt to a warmer climate by manipulating land use.

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2013-05-16

Creating the Park Cool Island in an Inner-City Neighborhood: Heat Mitigation Strategy for Phoenix, AZ

Description

We conducted microclimate simulations in ENVI-Met 3.1 to evaluate the impact of vegetation in lowering temperatures during an extreme heat event in an urban core neighborhood park in Phoenix, Arizona. We predicted air and surface temperatures under two different vegetation

We conducted microclimate simulations in ENVI-Met 3.1 to evaluate the impact of vegetation in lowering temperatures during an extreme heat event in an urban core neighborhood park in Phoenix, Arizona. We predicted air and surface temperatures under two different vegetation regimes: existing conditions representative of Phoenix urban core neighborhoods, and a proposed scenario informed by principles of landscape design and architecture and Urban Heat Island mitigation strategies. We found significant potential air and surface temperature reductions between representative and proposed vegetation scenarios:

1. A Park Cool Island effect that extended to non-vegetated surfaces.
2. A net cooling of air underneath or around canopied vegetation ranging from 0.9 °C to 1.9 °C during the warmest time of the day.
3. Potential reductions in surface temperatures from 0.8 °C to 8.4 °C in areas underneath or around vegetation.

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2012-12-21

Ecosystem Services and Urban Heat Riskscape Moderation: Water, Green Spaces, and Social Inequality in Phoenix, USA

Description

Urban ecosystems are subjected to high temperatures—extreme heat events, chronically hot weather, or both—through interactions between local and global climate processes. Urban vegetation may provide a cooling ecosystem service, although many knowledge gaps exist in the biophysical and social dynamics

Urban ecosystems are subjected to high temperatures—extreme heat events, chronically hot weather, or both—through interactions between local and global climate processes. Urban vegetation may provide a cooling ecosystem service, although many knowledge gaps exist in the biophysical and social dynamics of using this service to reduce climate extremes. To better understand patterns of urban vegetated cooling, the potential water requirements to supply these services, and differential access to these services between residential neighborhoods, we evaluated three decades (1970–2000) of land surface characteristics and residential segregation by income in the Phoenix, Arizona, USA metropolitan region. We developed an ecosystem service trade‐offs approach to assess the urban heat riskscape, defined as the spatial variation in risk exposure and potential human vulnerability to extreme heat. In this region, vegetation provided nearly a 25°C surface cooling compared to bare soil on low‐humidity summer days; the magnitude of this service was strongly coupled to air temperature and vapor pressure deficits.

To estimate the water loss associated with land‐surface cooling, we applied a surface energy balance model. Our initial estimates suggest 2.7 mm/d of water may be used in supplying cooling ecosystem services in the Phoenix region on a summer day. The availability and corresponding resource use requirements of these ecosystem services had a strongly positive relationship with neighborhood income in the year 2000. However, economic stratification in access to services is a recent development: no vegetation–income relationship was observed in 1970, and a clear trend of increasing correlation was evident through 2000. To alleviate neighborhood inequality in risks from extreme heat through increased vegetation and evaporative cooling, large increases in regional water use would be required. Together, these results suggest the need for a systems evaluation of the benefits, costs, spatial structure, and temporal trajectory for the use of ecosystem services to moderate climate extremes. Increasing vegetation is one strategy for moderating regional climate changes in urban areas and simultaneously providing multiple ecosystem services. However, vegetation has economic, water, and social equity implications that vary dramatically across neighborhoods and need to be managed through informed environmental policies.

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2011-10-01