Extreme summertime heat is becoming a major issue for aircraft operations. As global temperatures continue to rise, some of the heaviest planes on the longest flights may eventually be unable to depart during the hottest part of summer days. During summer days, some airports have to reduce the payload of aircraft, including cargo and/or passengers in the hotter days of summer. Nonetheless, there is no existing body of research on the potential for airport cooling. Furthermore, extreme heat on the ground also affects airport workers; loading and unloading luggage and servicing platforms between flights could become more arduous. With global warming proceeding, it is becoming increasingly urgent to find a suitable strategy to cool airport environments, perhaps by irrigation of a vegetated landscape. All airports have large enclosed areas (usually of grass) acting as a buffer between airport activities and the adjacent industrial, commercial and residential land utilization. This paper describes the trial of irrigating the buffer area of Adelaide airport and analyzes the performance of irrigation cooling for Adelaide airport, examining whether this can benefit human thermal comfort. Results indicate that irrigation provides cooling, and the cooling effect reduces along with the increasing instance from the middle of the irrigation area. At 15:00, the average air temperature was 1.8 °C cooler in the middle of the irrigation area than in the non-irrigation area, and the relative humidity was 5.8% higher during the trial period. On an extremely hot day (the maximum air temperature was 45.4 °C), it was 1.5 °C cooler in the middle of the irrigation area than upwind the of irrigation area, and 0.8 °C cooler than downwind of the irrigation area at 13:00. Human thermal comfort (HTC) is unfavorable in the runway, but greater improvements can be made through promotion of irrigation.
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