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Measuring Urban Heat via Cargo Bike

Posted in Research by Kate Archdeacon on September 29th, 2009

Source: Environmental Research Web

Image: amsterdamize

Researchers from Wageningen University, Netherlands, used the warm days in August to map out the urban climate in the cities of Rotterdam and Arnhem. During four time intervals on a 24 hours’ day, mobile traverse measurements were carried out with two cargo bicycles with measurement equipment.

The results may indicate to which extent heat stress may become a problem. Future projections of climate change show that frequency of heat waves will increase substantially in the next decades. Particularly in cities heat stress may become a serious problem due to the so-called Urban Heat Island effect (UHI), the phenomenon where the average temperature in the city is higher than in the surrounding area.

For technical reasons, the researchers use cargo bikes to transport the measurement apparatus. With a cargo bike it is easy to manoeuvre through the narrow streets in the city, while the instruments remain horizontal. The cargo bikes are equipped with a thermometer that registers the temperature, a humidity meter, a sensor for wind direction and wind speed, sensors that measure the amount of sunlight and sensors for the exchange of heat radiation. The measurements were conducted every second. In addition, the route was photographed at fixed intervals from 50 cm above the ground with a fisheye lens pointed upwards. This can be used to determine the percentage of the sky that is “covered” with buildings or greenery as seen from street level. This coverage largely determines the strength of the urban heat island effect. The felt temperature is determined by the air temperature combined with radiation, humidity and wind. The instruments are powered by a solar panel mounted on the baggage carrier.

Read the full article.

Source: Environmental Research Web

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