Estimation of the urban heat island for UK climate change projections

T J Kershaw, M Sanderson, David Coley, M Eames

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Cities are known to exert a significant influence on their local climate, and are generally warmer than their surroundings. However, climate models generally do not include a representation of urban areas, and so climate projections from models are likely to underestimate temperatures in urban areas. A simple methodology has been developed to calculate the urban heat island (UHI) from a set of gridded temperature data; the UHI may then be added to climate model projections and weather data files. This methodology allows the UHI to be calculated on a monthly basis and downscaled to hourly for addition to weather generator data. The UHI intensities produced are found to be consistent with observed data.Practical application: There is overwhelming consensus amongst the scientific community that the Earth’s climate is warming. In addition to the effects of climate change the urban heat island (UHI) effect can increase air temperatures significantly in urban areas above those of the rural areas around them. The proposed methodology for calculating the UHI from a set of gridded temperature data allows the UHI to be added to climate model projections such as UKCP09 or HadRM3 and weather data files. The methodology also allows for the temporal downscaling of the UHI from monthly values to hourly data for use in building thermal simulation software.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)251-263
Number of pages13
JournalBuilding Services Engineering Research and Technology
Issue number3
Early online date26 May 2010
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2010


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