89th American Meteorological Society Annual Meeting

Monday, 12 January 2009
Atlanta's urban heat island under extreme heat conditions
Hall 5 (Phoenix Convention Center)
Yan Zhou, Univ. of Georgia, Athens, GA ; and M. Shepherd
The urban heat island (hereafter “UHI”), together with summertime heat waves, foster biophysical hazards such as heat stress, air pollution and associated public health problems. Implementation of UHI mitigation strategies such as increased vegetative cover and higher albedo surface materials may reduce the impacts of these hazards. Since local impacts of global climate change may be intensified in areas with UHIs, such strategies would play an important role as the public adapts to climate changes. As one of the fastest growing metropolitan areas in United States, Atlanta, Georgia is often affected by extreme heat, and has recently been investigated to better understand its heat island and urban-related weather modifications. In this thesis study, the overarching objectives were to (1) characterize temporal variations in magnitude of the UHI around Metro Atlanta area, (2) identify climatological attributes of the UHI under extreme high temperature conditions during Atlanta's summer (Jun, July, and Aug) period, and (3) conduct theoretical numerical simulations to quantify the first-order effects of proposed mitigation strategies. We will present key findings on the climatology of Atlanta's UHI under heat and non-heatwave conditions over the past 27 years. We also present results from highly theoretical WRF-NOAH model sensitivity experiments where Atlanta's vegetation and albedo were altered.

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