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Advances in Meteorology
Volume 2014, Article ID 948306, 5 pages
Research Article

Generalized Scaling of Urban Heat Island Effect and Its Applications for Energy Consumption and Renewable Energy

1Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85287-6106, USA
2Department of Mechanical and Design Engineering, Hongik University, Sejong, Republic of Korea

Received 14 March 2014; Accepted 9 June 2014; Published 18 August 2014

Academic Editor: Huei-Ping Huang

Copyright © 2014 T.-W. Lee et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


In previous work from this laboratory, it has been found that the urban heat island intensity (UHI) can be scaled with the urban length scale and the wind speed, through the time-dependent energy balance. The heating of the urban surfaces during the daytime sets the initial temperature, and this overheating is dissipated during the night-time through mean convection motion over the urban surface. This may appear to be in contrast to the classical work by Oke (1973). However, in this work, we show that if the population density is used in converting the population data into urbanized area, then a good agreement with the current theory is found. An additional parameter is the “urban flow parameter,” which depends on the urban building characteristics and affects the horizontal convection of heat due to wind. This scaling can be used to estimate the UHI intensity in any cities and therefore predict the required energy consumption during summer months. In addition, all urbanized surfaces are expected to exhibit this scaling, so that increase in the surface temperature in large energy-consumption or energy-producing facilities (e.g., solar electric or thermal power plants) can be estimated.