Urban heat island

urban heat island

(Figure is a courtesy of Kamyar Fuladlu)


In large urban settlements, human activities greatly modify the environment, creating unique meteorological and climatological characteristics. The agglomeration of tall buildings, roadways, green spaces, and concrete surfaces produces intricate rain, wind, heat, and air-quality patterns. The hard surfaces can shape water flow and aggravate flood risks. The alignment of buildings can create local wind tunnels. Tiny particles emitted by traffic and industry can reduce air quality. The urban heat-island effect can raise temperatures by 5oC to 10oC, exacerbating heat waves.

The 18th World Meteorological Congress adopted  Resolution 32: Advancing Integrated Urban Services: technical guide; a capacity building  that  “Requests Technical Commissions and other bodies to develop a technical guide on measuring, monitoring and modeling of the Urban Heat Island (UHI) effect, which is a growing concern due to accelerating urbanization and warming trends, to support Members’ service delivery needs and planning efforts to mitigate the impacts of UHI.


WMO Guidance on the Canopy Layer Urban Heat Island

Goals of the document:

  1. Bring together existing materials on the topic,
  2. Provide focused information on the Canopy layer urban heat island. 

Scientific editors of the guidance are  K. Heinke Schlünzen and Sue Grimmond.

The Guidance will include the following sections:

  • Definitions
  • Heat Island measurements
  • Heat Island modeling
  • Heat Island Monitoring
  • Application


The guidance is to be finalized by summer 2021.