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The impact of greenspace size on the extent of local nocturnal air temperature cooling in London

Vaz Monteiro, Madalena, Doick, Kieron J., Handley, Phillip, Peace, Andrew
Urban forestry & urban greening 2016 v.16 pp. 160-169
air temperature, canopy, cities, climate, cooling, grasses, heat island, models, trees, wind speed
Urban greenspaces can provide a significant cooling service, which extends beyond the greenspace boundaries. Consequently, greenspaces are recognised for their ability to locally reduce the urban heat island, a phenomenon that has negative implications for the thermal comfort and health of urban citizens. However, the amount of cooling provided by a greenspace and the distance over which that cooling extends depend on factors such as greenspace size and characteristics. Based on data collected in and around eight London greenspaces, with areas ranging from 0.2 to 12.1ha, this work models the distance and magnitude of cooling provided by each greenspace and defines the relationships between cooling extent and the size of greenspace or the areas of tree canopy and grass. Such data, illustrating the value of expanding the area of urban greenspaces and explaining how cooling relates to greenspace size/coverage characteristics, will be of use to urban planners and climatologists concerned with finding solutions to the urban heat island. Modelling was statistically valid on calm warm nights (with mean air temperatures ≥10°C and wind speed ≤3ms−1). On those nights, cooling distance increased linearly with increasing area of greenspace, tree canopy and grass, but the relationship between those factors and the amount of cooling was non-linear. Cooling distance was most strongly related with tree canopy whereas the amount of cooling was most strongly linked to the grass coverage. Our results suggest that a comprehensive cooling service on calm warm nights within cities with similar climate/characteristics to London may come from greenspaces with 3–5ha, situated 100–150m apart.