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Open AccessArticle

A New Method to Assess Fine-Scale Outdoor Thermal Comfort for Urban Agglomerations

Vlaamse Instelling voor Technologisch Onderzoek (VITO), 2400 Mol, Belgium
Department of Geography, Ruhr-University Bochum, 44801 Bochum, Germany
Department of Environment, Laboratory of Hydrology and Water Management, Ghent University, 9000 Ghent, Belgium
Antea Group, 2000 Antwerpen, Belgium
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Climate 2020, 8(1), 6;
Received: 6 November 2019 / Revised: 17 December 2019 / Accepted: 4 January 2020 / Published: 6 January 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Climate and Adaptation Tools)
In urban areas, high air temperatures and heat stress levels greatly affect human thermal comfort and public health, with climate change further increasing the mortality risks. This study presents a high resolution (100 m) modelling method, including detailed offline radiation calculations, that is able to efficiently calculate outdoor heat stress for entire urban agglomerations for a time period spanning several months. A dedicated measurement campaign was set up to evaluate model performance, yielding satisfactory results. As an example, the modelling tool was used to assess the effectiveness of green areas and water surfaces to cool air temperatures and wet bulb globe temperatures during a typical hot day in the city of Ghent (Belgium), since the use of vegetation and water bodies are shown to be promising in mitigating the adverse effects of urban heat islands and improving thermal comfort. The results show that air temperature reduction is most profound over water surfaces during the afternoon, while open rural areas are coolest during the night. Radiation shading from trees, and to a lesser extent, from buildings, is found to be most effective in reducing wet bulb globe temperatures and improving thermal comfort during the warmest moments of the day. View Full-Text
Keywords: thermal comfort; urban greening; urban heat island; UrbClim model; water bodies thermal comfort; urban greening; urban heat island; UrbClim model; water bodies
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Lauwaet, D.; Maiheu, B.; De Ridder, K.; Boënne, W.; Hooyberghs, H.; Demuzere, M.; Verdonck, M.-L. A New Method to Assess Fine-Scale Outdoor Thermal Comfort for Urban Agglomerations. Climate 2020, 8, 6.

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