Onur Özgün & Matthias Ruth, Northeastern University, Boston, MA, USA

Presentation Title: Modeling the feedbacks between socio-economic changes and Urban Heat Island (UHI)



Although at first glance, the urban heat island problem seems static in time and linear in the sense that causes are independent of effects, important feedback mechanisms exist over the long term, resulting in urban temperatures rising faster than rural temperatures. For instance, the persistent temperature increase in cities raises air conditioner ownership, contributing to anthropogenic heat - a major cause of urban heat islands.

System dynamics - a modeling and simulation methodology for the study of complex dynamic systems – was used to analyze how the interaction of natural, social and political processes in the city creates an increasingly pronounced urban heat island. With an established base of knowledge, the causal relationship between system variables are defined, and the feedback loops that create behavior over time are identified.

Knowledge Gaps and Needs

  • There is a need for a simple, yet accurate parameterization of UHI intensity based on physical characteristics and further modeling of the effects of UHI mitigation measures.


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