Maximum urban heat island intensity in a medium-sized coastal Mediterranean city
This paper studies the maximum intensity of the urban heat island (UHI) that develops in Volos urban area, a medium-sized coastal city in central Greece. The maximum temperature difference between the city center and a suburb is 3.4A degrees C and 3.1A degrees C during winter and summer, respectively, while during both seasons the average maximum UHI intensity is 2.0A degrees C. The UHI usually starts developing after sunset during both seasons. It could be attributed to the different nocturnal radiative cooling rate and to the different anthropogenic heat emission rate that are observed at the city center and at the suburb, as well as to meteorological conditions. The analysis reveals that during both seasons the daily maximum hourly (DMH) UHI intensity is positively correlated with solar radiation and with previous day's maximum hourly UHI intensity and negatively correlated with wind speed. It is also negatively correlated with relative humidity during winter but positively correlated with it during summer. This difference could be attributed to the different mechanisms that mainly drive humidity levels (i.e., evaporation in winter and sea breeze (SB) in summer). Moreover, it is found that SB development triggers a delay in UHI formation in summer. The impact of atmospheric pollution on maximum UHI intensity is also examined. An increase in PM10 concentration is associated with an increase in maximum UHI intensity during winter and with a decrease during summer. The impact of PM10 on UHI is caused by the attenuation of the incoming and the outgoing radiation. Additionally, this study shows that the weekly cycle of the city activities induces a weekly variation in maximum UHI intensity levels. The weekly range of DMH UHI intensity is not very large, being more pronounced during winter (0.4A degrees C). Moreover, a first attempt is made to predict the DMH UHI intensity by applying regression models, whose success is rather promising.