Planning Glossary

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Urban Heat Island Effect

2023-10-11 | “Urban Climates”

Decades of research have shown that cities are almost always warmer than their surroundings. This phenomenon is the urban heat island (UHI). Professor Timothy R. Oke from the University of Cambridge pointed out the root causes of the UHI in his book “Urban Climates”: they are the changes urban development makes to the energy balance of the pre-urban site on which the city is built. UHI is dynamic in both time and space and is not a unified phenomenon. Surface heat island, Canopy layer heat island, Boundary layer heat island, and Subsurface heat island are four types of UHI. These different types of UHI vary in scale, causative thermal processes, modeling approaches, and observation techniques. Their formation mechanisms, influencing factors, spatial distribution, and climate impacts constitute the core content of UHI effect research. This research is of paramount importance in enhancing our understanding of and addressing urban climate change while promoting sustainability in urban planning and management.

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Source: “Urban Climates”


Edited and Translated by Ma Chenshuo