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Modeling the influence of open water surfaces on the summertime temperature and thermal comfort in the city

Theeuwes, N. E., Solcerová, A. and Steeneveld, G. J. (2013) Modeling the influence of open water surfaces on the summertime temperature and thermal comfort in the city. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 118 (16). pp. 8881-8896. ISSN 2169-8996

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1002/jgrd.50704

Abstract/Summary

Due to the combination of rapid global urbanization and climate change, urban climate issues are becoming relatively more important and are gaining interest. Compared to rural areas, the temperature in cities is higher (the urban heat island effect) due to the modifications in the surface radiation and energy balances. This study hypothesizes that the urban heat island can be mitigated by introducing open surface water in urban design. In order to test this, we use the WRF mesoscale meteorological model in which an idealized circular city is designed. Herein, the surface water cover, its size, spatial configuration, and temperature are varied. Model results indicate that the cooling effect of water bodies depends nonlinearly on the fractional water cover, size, and distribution of individual lakes within the city with respect to wind direction. Relatively large lakes show a high temperature effect close to their edges and in downwind areas. Several smaller lakes equally distributed within the urban area have a smaller temperature effect, but influence a larger area of the city. Evaporation from open water bodies may lower the temperature, but on the other hand also increases the humidity, which dampens the positive effect on thermal comfort. In addition, when the water is warmer than the air temperature (during autumn or night), the water body has an adverse effect on thermal comfort. In those cases, the water body eventually limits the cooling and thermal comfort in the surrounding city, and thus diverges from the original intention of the intervention.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:73257
Uncontrolled Keywords:Boundary layer processes, Land/atmosphere interactions, Mesoscale meteorology, Megacities and urban environment, Mesoscale modeling, Urban heat island, WRF, Thermal comfort, Urban climate, Urban water
Publisher:American Geophysical Union

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