Urban Heat Islands

Authored by: M. Roth

Handbook of Environmental Fluid Dynamics

Print publication date:  December  2012
Online publication date:  December  2012

Print ISBN: 9781466556010
eBook ISBN: 9781466556041
Adobe ISBN:


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For millions of people living in cities, increased temperatures are a growing fact and concern. The urban heat island (UHI) is a phenomenon whereby urban regions experience warmer temperatures than their rural, undeveloped surroundings. The UHI is the most obvious atmospheric modification attributable to urbanization, the most studied of climate effects of cities and an iconic phenomenon of urban climate It can be found in settlements of all sizes in all climatic regions and arises from the introduction of artificial surfaces characteristic of those of a city that radically alters the aerodynamic, radiative, thermal, and moisture properties in the urban region compared to the natural surroundings The heat island is defined on the basis of temperature differences between urban and rural stations, and the isotherm patterns of near-surface air temperatures resemble the contours of an island.

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