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Heat Islands

Heat Island Science Corner

This page provides links to reports, research papers, and presentations on urban heat islands, including impacts of the heat island effect, case studies, potential benefits of mitigation strategies, and more. Please note that the inclusion of a paper or presentation on this page does not imply endorsement by EPA.

We welcome suggestions for additional papers, reports, and presentations to include on this page; please use the form on the Contact Us page to submit your suggestions.

Subject Reference Topic Link
Chicago's Urban Heat Island Gray, K. A. and Finster, M. E. 1999. The Urban Heat Island, Photochemical Smog, and Chicago: Local Features of the Problem and Solution. Evanston, IL: Northwestern University. Measuring Heat Islands link
Guidance on Meteorological Observations in Urban Areas Oke, T.R. 2006. Initial Guidance to Obtain Representative Meteorological Observations at Urban Sites. IOM Report No.81, WMO/TD. No. 1250. Geneva, Switzerland: World Meteorological Organization. Measuring Heat Islands link
Homology Mapping Technique for Heat Island Mitigation Douglas, S. G.; Hudischewskyj, A. B.; and Lundgren, J. R. 2001. Development and Implementation of a Homology Mapping Technique to Aid the Selection of Cities for Modeling of the Effects of Urban Heat Island Mitigation Measures on Ozone Air Quality. SYSAPP-01-008. San Rafael, CA: ICF Consulting/Systems Applications International, Inc. Measuring Heat Islands link
Measuring Cool Roof Benefits Synnefaa, A.; Santamourisa, M.; and Akbari, H. 2007. Estimating the effect of using cool coatings on energy loads and thermal comfort in residential buildings in various climatic conditions. Energy and Buildings, Vol 39, Issue 11 (November 2007), pp. 1167-1174. doi:10.1016/j.enbuild.2007.01.004. Measuring Heat Islands link
Salt Lake City Fabric Analysis Akbari, H. and Rose, L. S. 2001. Characterizing the Fabric of the Urban Environment: A Case Study of Salt Lake City, Utah. LBNL-47851. Berkeley, CA: Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Measuring Heat Islands link
Siting of Meteorological Instruments in Urban Areas Oke, T.R., 2007. Siting and exposure of meteorological instruments at urban sites. In: Air Pollution Modeling and its Application XVII, Borrego, C. and A.-L. Norman, (eds.), Springer, 615-632. (A draft version is available as: Oke, T.R. 2004. Siting and exposure of meteorological instruments at urban sites. 27th NATO/CCMS International Technical Meeting on Air Pollution Modelling and its Application, Banff, 25-29 October, 2004. To be published by Kluwer.) Measuring Heat Islands link
Air Quality Benefits of Heat Island Mitigation Akbari, H. 2005. Energy Saving Potentials and Air Quality Benefits of Urban Heat Island Mitigation. LBNL-58285. Berkeley, CA: Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Heat Island Mitigation link
Air Quality Benefits of Heat Island Mitigation Taha, H.; Chang, S.; and Akbari, H. 2000. Meteorological and Air Quality Impacts of Heat Island Mitigation Measures in Three U.S. Cities. LBNL-44222. Berkeley, CA: Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Heat Island Mitigation link
Heat-health Benefits of Urban Heat Island Mitigation Taha, H.; Kalkstein, L.; Sheridan, S.; and Wong, E. 2004. The potential of urban environmental control in alleviating heat-wave health effects in five U.S. regions. Paper J4.3, 16th Symposium on Biometeorology and Aerobiology, American Meteorological Society, Vancouver BC, August 2004. Heat Island Mitigation link
Urban Heat Island Mitigation Analysis in New York City Rosenzweig, C.; Solecki, W.; and Slosberg, R. 2006. Mitigating New York City’s Heat Island with Urban Forestry, Living Roofs, and Light Surfaces. Report 06-06. Albany, NY: New York State Energy Research and Development Authority. Heat Island Mitigation link
Urban Heat Island Mitigation Effects on Air Quality in California Taha, H. 2008. Urban surface modification as a potential ozone air-quality improvement strategy in California: A mesoscale modeling study. Boundary-Layer Meteorology, Vol 127,  No. 2 (May 2008), pp. 219-239. doi:10.1007/s10546-007-9259-5 Heat Island Mitigation link
Urban Heat Island Mitigation Effects on Air Quality in Houston Taha, H. 2008. Episodic performance and sensitivity of the urbanized MM5 (uMM5) to perturbations in surface properties in Houston TX. Boundary-Layer Meteorology, Vol. 127, No. 2 (May 2008), pp. 193-218. doi:10.1007/s10546-007-9258-6. Heat Island Mitigation link
Urban Heat Island Mitigation Effects on Air Quality in Northeast U.S. Hudischewskyj, A. B.; Douglas, S. G.; and Lundgren, J. R. 2001. Meteorological and Air Quality Modeling to Further Examine the Effects of Urban Heat Island Mitigation Measures on Several Cities in the Northeastern U.S.. SYSAPP-01-001. San Rafael, CA: ICF Consulting/Systems Applications International, Inc. Heat Island Mitigation link
Urban Heat Island Mitigation Effects on Energy in Toronto Konopacki, S. and Akbari, H. 2001. Energy Impacts of Heat Island Reduction Strategies in the Greater Toronto Area, Canada. LBNL-49172. Berkeley, CA: Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Heat Island Mitigation link
Urban Heat Island Mitigation Strategies U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. 2008. Reducing Urban Heat Islands: Compendium of Strategies. [insert EPA pub number when available] Washington, DC: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Heat Island Mitigation link
Green Roof Building Performance Field Study Cummings, J.B.; Withers, C.R.; Sonne, J.; Parker, D.; and Vieira, R.K. 2007. UCF Recommissioning, Green Roofing Technology, and Building Science Training; Final Report. Cocoa, FL: Florida Solar Energy Center. Green Roofs link
Green Roof Industry Survey 2004 & 2005 Green Roofs for Healthy Cities. 2007. Final Report, Green Roof Industry Survey, 2006. Toronto, Ontario, Canada: Green Roofs for Healthy Cities. Green Roofs link
Benefits of Cool Roofs Akbari, H.; Pomerantz, M.; and Taha, H. 2001. Cool surfaces and shade trees to reduce energy use and improve air quality in urban areas. Solar Energy, Vol 70, No. 3, pp. 295–310. Cool Roofs link
Cool Roofs Energy Savings Potential Konopacki, S.; Akbari, H.; Pomerantz, M.; Gabersek, S.; and Gartland, L. 1997. Cooling Energy Savings Potential of Light-Colored Roofs for Residential and Commercial Buildings in 11 U.S. Metropolitan Areas. LBNL-39433. Berkeley, CA: Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Cool Roofs link
Benefits of Cool Pavements Akbari, H.; Pomerantz, M.; and Taha, H. 2001. Cool surfaces and shade trees to reduce energy use and improve air quality in urban areas. Solar Energy, Vol 70, No. 3, pp. 295–310. Cool Pavements link
Cool Pavement Report - EPA Cool Pavements Study Cambridge Systematics, Inc., 2005. Cool Pavement Report: EPA Cool Pavements Study, Task 5. Chevy Chase, MD: Cambridge Systematics, Inc. Cool Pavements link
Pavement Reflectance Report Levinson, R. and Akbari, H. 2001. Effects of Composition and Exposure on the Solar Reflectance of Portland Cement Concrete. LBNL-48334. Berkeley, CA: Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Cool Pavements link
Chicago's Urban Heat Island Gray, K. A. and Finster, M. E. 1999. The Urban Heat Island, Photochemical Smog, and Chicago: Local Features of the Problem and Solution. Evanston, IL: Northwestern University. Local Studies link
Salt Lake City Fabric Analysis Akbari, H. and Rose, L. S. 2001. Characterizing the Fabric of the Urban Environment: A Case Study of Salt Lake City, Utah. LBNL-47851. Berkeley, CA: Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Local Studies link
Urban Heat Island Mitigation Analysis in New York City Rosenzweig, C.; Solecki, W.; and Slosberg, R. 2006. Mitigating New York City’s Heat Island with Urban Forestry, Living Roofs, and Light Surfaces. Report 06-06. Albany, NY: New York State Energy Research and Development Authority. Local Studies link
Urban Heat Island Mitigation Effects on Air Quality in California Taha, H. 2008. Urban surface modification as a potential ozone air-quality improvement strategy in California: A mesoscale modeling study. Boundary-Layer Meteorology, Vol 127,  No. 2 (May 2008), pp. 219-239. doi:10.1007/s10546-007-9259-5 Local Studies link
Urban Heat Island Mitigation Effects on Air Quality in Houston Taha, H. 2008. Episodic performance and sensitivity of the urbanized MM5 (uMM5) to perturbations in surface properties in Houston TX. Boundary-Layer Meteorology, Vol. 127, No. 2 (May 2008), pp. 193-218. doi:10.1007/s10546-007-9258-6. Local Studies link
Urban Heat Island Mitigation Effects on Air Quality in Northeast U.S. Hudischewskyj, A. B.; Douglas, S. G.; and Lundgren, J. R. 2001. Meteorological and Air Quality Modeling to Further Examine the Effects of Urban Heat Island Mitigation Measures on Several Cities in the Northeastern U.S.. SYSAPP-01-001. San Rafael, CA: ICF Consulting/Systems Applications International, Inc. Local Studies link
Urban Heat Island Mitigation Effects on Energy in Toronto Konopacki, S. and Akbari, H. 2001. Energy Impacts of Heat Island Reduction Strategies in the Greater Toronto Area, Canada. LBNL-49172. Berkeley, CA: Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Local Studies link
Arizona State University Pavements/Materials Conference(Tempe, Arizona, November 2010) Asphalt and concrete pavement technology, recent innovations in pavement design and construction management, and updates on federal pavement performance research. Papers and presentations are available by clicking on the individual days listed in the conference agenda. Papers, presentations, posters, and summaries from conferences and other meetings; Emerging Science link
American Meteorological Society, Ninth Annual Symposium on the Urban Environment(Keystone, Colorado, August 2010) Urban energy balance, extreme heat events, urban heat islands, urban precipitation patterns, measurements in the urban environment, modeling and forecasting, heat island mitigation, and other topics. Papers, presentations, posters, and summaries from conferences and other meetings; Emerging Science link
Second International Conference on Countermeasures to Urban Heat Islands (Berkeley, California, September 2009) Measuring heat islands, pavements, reflective materials, building design, vegetation, air modeling, urban planning, quality of life and health, policies, and more. Papers, presentations, posters, and summaries from conferences and other meetings; Emerging Science link
Seventh International Conference on the Urban Climate(Yokohama, Japan, June 2009) Measurements of airflow, exchange processes, building climates, climate performance of impervious surfaces, climate performance of urban parks and plants, design and planning, maps and tools, impacts of climate change on cities, urban impacts on precipitation, urban heat islands, urban heat island mitigation, and more. Papers, presentations, posters, and summaries from conferences and other meetings; Emerging Science link
American Meteorological Society, Eighth Symposium on the Urban Environment(Phoenix, Arizona, January 2009) Urban energy balance, urban heat islands, urban precipitation patterns, measurements in the urban environment, modeling and forecasting, heat island mitigation, and other topics. Papers, presentations, posters, and summaries from conferences and other meetings; Emerging Science link
American Meteorological Society, Seventh Symposium on the Urban Environment(San Diego, California, September 2007) Coastal urban environments, heat island trends and comparisons, heat island mitigation, heat island modeling, and more. Papers, presentations, posters, and summaries from conferences and other meetings; Emerging Science link
International Workshop on Countermeasures to Urban Heat Islands (Tokyo, August 2006) Environmental impacts of heat islands, current state and future prospects of research and development, and current state and future policies to reduce heat island effects. Papers, presentations, posters, and summaries from conferences and other meetings; Emerging Science link