Urban Heat Island: Mechanisms, Implications, and Possible Remedies


Journal Article

© 2015 by Annual Reviews. All rights reserved. Urban heat island (UHI) manifests as the temperature rise in built-up urban areas relative to the surrounding rural countryside, largely because of the relatively greater proportion of incident solar energy that is absorbed and stored by man-made materials. The direct impact of UHI can be significant on both daytime and night-time temperatures, and the indirect impacts include increased air conditioning loads, deteriorated air and water quality, reduced pavement lifetimes, and exacerbated heat waves. Modifying the thermal properties and emissivity of roofs and paved surfaces and increasing the vegetated area within the city are potential mitigation strategies. A quantitative comparison of their efficacies and costs suggests that so-called cool roofs are likely the most cost-effective UHI mitigation strategy. However, additional research is needed on how to modify surface emissivities and dynamically control surface and material properties, as well as on the health and socioeconomic impacts of UHI.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Phelan, PE; Kaloush, K; Miner, M; Golden, J; Phelan, B; Silva, H; Taylor, RA

Published Date

  • January 1, 2015

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 40 /

Start / End Page

  • 285 - 307

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1543-5938

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1146/annurev-environ-102014-021155

Citation Source

  • Scopus