City size and the urban heat island

The paper demonstrates the relationship existing between the size of a village, town or city (as measured by its population), and the magnitude of the urban heat island it produces. This is accomplished by analyzing data gathered by automobile traverses in 10 settlements on the St. Lawrence Lowland, whose populations range from 1000 to 2 million inhabitants. The locations of these settlements effectively eliminate all non-urban climatic influences. The results are compared with previously published data.

The analysis shows the heat island intensity under cloudless skies to be related to the inverse of the regional windspeed, and the logarithm of the population. A simple model is derived which incorporates these controls. In agreement with an extension of Summers’ model the heat island appears to be approximately proportional to the fourth root of the population. With calm and clear conditions the relation is shown to hold remarkably well for North American settlements, and in a slightly modified form, for European towns and cities.

Suggested citation or credit:

T.R. Oke, City size and the urban heat island, Atmospheric Environment (1967), Volume 7, Issue 8, August 1973, Pages 769-779, ISSN 0004-6981, 10.1016/0004-6981(73)90140-6.

Source: Atmospheric Environment

Publication Date: February 1973

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