Urban heat islands in humid and arid climates: role of urban form and thermal properties in Colombo, Sri Lanka and Phoenix, USA

Rohinton Emmanuel, Harindra J.S. Fernando

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    Using a micro-scale urban simulation program, we examined the sensitivity of air temperature and mean radiant temperature (MRT) of built-up urban cores to urban-area geometry (the density of buildings), thermal properties of human-made surfaces (albedo) and green cover (street trees), in 2 warm-climate cities: Pettah, Colombo (Sri Lanka) and downtown Phoenix, Arizona (USA). Air temperature and MRT are indicative of human thermal comfort, and their rural/urban gradients signify the urban heat island (UHI) effect. Although high albedo values lead to low daytime temperatures in both cities, the best thermal comfort, quantified by both the air temperature and MRT, was found in high-density development. Thus, density enhancement is a viable UHI mitigation option in built-up areas of warm climate cities.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)241-251
    Number of pages11
    JournalClimate Research
    Volume34
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2007

    Keywords

    • tropical climate
    • climate-sensitive urban design
    • desert climate

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