Talk:Urban heat island

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Good article Urban heat island has been listed as one of the Natural sciences good articles under the good article criteria. If you can improve it further, please do so. If it no longer meets these criteria, you can reassess it.
September 13, 2009 Good article nominee Listed

Keenan alleges fraud by Wang on UHI relied on by IPCC[edit]


Douglas J. Keenan has “formally alleged that Wei-Chyung Wang committed fraud in some of his research,including research cited by the Fourth Assessment Report of the IPCC (2007) on “urban heat islands” (a critical issue).”[1]

This is a formal published allegation. Some web sites with further information:


  1. ^ The Fraud Allegation Against Some Climatic Research of Wei-Chyung Wang, Energy & Environment, Vol. 18, No. 7+8, 2007 pp 985-995
Reverting this. E&E is not a reliable source for scientific studies (its a non-peer reviewed social science journal). Given that the researcher's University officially cleared him of any wrongdoing, there is a pretty high bar to overcome before the evidence of any fraud (or willful coverup by his University) is valid and merits an inclusion here. Furthermore, Jones et al is hardly the only study out there on UHI...Zeke Hausfather (talk) 05:50, 4 May 2009 (UTC)
Read something this a while ago but can't remember the details (ha ha, this I suppose). If you are correct that the researcher has been cleared, then either the original addition was deliberately partial with the truth or just doesn't know the issue well; neither speaks well for inclusion. I don't know whether this has any substance or merits inclusion William M. Connolley (talk) 08:40, 4 May 2009 (UTC)
Fridtjof Nansen Institute (FNI) considers its articles in Energy and Environment as peer reviewed. What evidence that it is not "peer reviewed"? It lists a large number of reviewers. DLH (talk) 05:06, 6 May 2009 (UTC)
It claims to be peer reviewed, but the process has been severely criticized. As KDP (IIRC) found out, Scopus lists it as a trade journal, and ISI does not index it at all. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 06:18, 6 May 2009 (UTC)

Looking for some peer-reviewed literature about urban heat island effect and global temperatures? As far as I know this story primarily involves Chinese temperature records. In this case, I recommend you the following one:

P. D. Jones, D. H. Lister, Q. Li: Urbanization effects in large-scale temperature records, with an emphasis on China. Journal of Geophysical Research, 2008.

From the abstract: "Global surface temperature trends, based on land and marine data, show warming of about 0.8°C over the last 100 years. This rate of warming is sometimes questioned because of the existence of well-known Urban Heat Islands (UHIs). [...] In the main part of the paper, for China, we compare a new homogenized station data set with gridded temperature products and attempt to assess possible urban influences using sea surface temperature (SST) data sets for the area east of the Chinese mainland. We show that all the land-based data sets for China agree exceptionally well and that their residual warming compared to the SST series since 1951 is relatively small compared to the large-scale warming. Urban-related warming over China is shown to be about 0.1°C/decade over the period 1951–2004, with true climatic warming accounting for 0.81°C over this period."

So in the case of China the amount of warming caused by urban heat islands over the period between 1951-2004 is 0.53 deg.C according to the paper above, and if I try to extrapolate the linear trend until this year, I will get 0.59 deg.C in 59 years. Compared to the observed surface warming in the last 150 years, it is lightyears away from being insignificant (even if it's only a local effect, but I think not).

To anyone who is interested in UHIs personally: go to GISTEMP surface station data browse page ( ) and search for some urban stations, and then compare their records with neighbouring rural stations. You will have interesting results... I recommend this one first:

NY Central Park West Point —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:50, 18 May 2009 (UTC)

2010 sources[edit]

The Guardian has made the allegations again, with more details about what were the flaws in the data Strange case of moving weather posts and a scientist under siege --Enric Naval (talk) 11:06, 3 February 2010 (UTC)

This is largely just new coverage of old material. But since some of the primary material is called into question, we should be careful to ensure that we are not relying on anything taken directly from the questioned primary sources. I think it unlikely that we should do so in the first place, but we should adopt a safety first attitude. --TS 17:09, 3 February 2010 (UTC)
What is this material you are your referring to? For a detailed summary of the case, you might want to look at Phil Jones and the China Network: Part 1 as well as Part 2 and 3. (talk) 12:12, 7 November 2010 (UTC)

Just to throw it out there[edit]

The "adjustment" that NASA did for the urban heat island effect [1] was done by adjusting urban temperatures by using rural stations. The obvious problem with that method is that people tend to settle in coastal areas or next to water (look at the night sky map they used) and coastal areas tend to be cooler than inland areas. So if they are adjusting urban areas (more likely to be close to water) based on data from rural (more likely to be inland) areas, then their adjustments would show higher temperatures.

Anyone with access to full text research databases know if anyone has done a study on this or adjusted for this rather obvious problem? TheGoodLocust (talk) 18:01, 5 June 2009 (UTC)

Well, first any adjustments are not done is such a naive way, but typically using equivalent stations or gridded averages. But, more importantly, you compare temperature changes, not absolute temperatures. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 19:27, 5 June 2009 (UTC)
Being equivalent isn't the same as being equal. Last time I checked they didn't even try to correct for something as obvious as the UHI until nearly the year 2000. Also, comparing temperature changes in these different areas wouldn't make much sense - obviously the changes would be greater in inland areas due to less wind and more heat absorption (due to less albedo). TheGoodLocust (talk) 16:19, 6 June 2009 (UTC)
Well, maybe you should either check more carefully or more often then. And you don't seem to get the gist of my comment. Yes, the procedure you wrongly presume has been used would not be a good one. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 17:06, 6 June 2009 (UTC)
How do I wrongly presume such a procedure was used? I am describing their method as described in my nasa link (next topic). TheGoodLocust (talk) 18:08, 6 June 2009 (UTC)
Analyzing a study's method by dissecting it yourself and saying "I think they did this wrong!" or "I think they forgot to account for this!" is original research. You would need to find an published source in a reputable scholarly journal making that criticism before it can be included in the article. If it is really the "obvious problem" that you personally feel it is, it should be easy to find published criticism in a reputable journal making that point. --Aquillion (talk) 19:22, 29 June 2009 (UTC)

Article improvement[edit]

If I decide to improve this article, which is a big if at the moment, we need to find a way to rectify the fact that the global warming section is taking up a significant amount of the article space. This is quite interesting, as the global warming article does not contain an urban heat island section. Looking back at a few of the past 2 years of edits, it appears that the global warming section is the only section to receive much editing during that time frame, with plenty of reverts made. Somehow, the article size has remained essentially static, which either implies a lack of interest in its expansion or that those maintaining it like its current appearance and structure. I see two options. Either the global warming section will need to shrink, or the rest of the article will need to be significantly expanded so that the global warming section takes up a smaller percentage of the article space. The references will also have to be redone in a more uniform manner. Also, I have issues with the way the content is currently organized. It reads more like a research paper than an encyclopedia article. I'm concerned that the article will need to be reorganized/reworded, which judging by its past history could be a serious challenge. Any input is welcome and appreciated. Thegreatdr (talk) 05:21, 18 June 2009 (UTC)

I don't see any justification at all for your assertion that the GW section is mis-sized. It is by far the most interesting part, as measured by number of edits or indeed by scientific attention. The main GW article doesn't contain an UHI section because this article has one.
While we're here, let me re-add "You can also read [2] if you want to" which got removed in G's (welcome) return-to-sanity edit William M. Connolley (talk) 06:57, 18 June 2009 (UTC)
This article main thrust isn't about the urban heat island's possible impact (or lack of impact) on global warming, or that would be its name. It's about the urban heat island. One would think some of this material would also have a home at the global warming article (for completeness sake since it is a FA), with this article acting as the "parent" article to that content, and the global warming article having a paragraph of content to act as a summary. One could make the argument that it could have been done the other way around, since the global warming article is actually about global warming and it seems incomplete for none of this information to be within the featured article, potentially setting it up for FAR. I'll give the article's content a good look over, but my initial impression was that the section on global warming seemed disproportionately large. Another possible solution is to create an article specifically about the urban heat island's link to global warming, which would safely allow for a reduction of content in this article which could then merely serve as an overview to the more in-depth descendant article.
Yes, I just might look over the information in that link. When I look through the content and references, I'm sure I'll get to it. The bigger issues right now are balancing its content, fixing the reference mess at the bottom, and making sure the whole article is well-referenced, to prepare for a future push for GAN. It will probably be a week or so before I get heavily into the editing, either way. I currently have one article up for GAN and one up for FAC. Thegreatdr (talk) 09:03, 18 June 2009 (UTC)
GW is big enough already. If you really want to make the assertion that the GW-UHI section of this article should be cut from here into GW, please make it, it will be roundly defeated, and we can then get on to the substance, if there is any, rather than arguing over the location of text William M. Connolley (talk) 09:22, 18 June 2009 (UTC)
Adding a few lines about it, if it is that important, within the GW article is not going to end the world. If global warming is only minimally impacted by urban heat island, if at all, and to such a degree that it is not worth a mention in the global warming article, why is so much of the urban heat island page focused on this general lack of connection? As it turns out, much of the information in that section does not appear to be about GW anyway, so it has been moved to a more relevant section. See if that work out well for you. Thegreatdr (talk) 16:44, 18 June 2009 (UTC)
Perhaps something like "The urban heat island effect is estimated to account for about 0.002 °C of warming per decade since 1900", maybe? William M. Connolley (talk) 16:52, 18 June 2009 (UTC)
If that's the relevant stat, that is all that would really be needed for the GW article, with the appropriate reference since we're dealing with a specific number. If you want to place that line into the lead, and replace what I've written up there, go for it. I'm just making some preliminary steps to better organize the content of this article right now, which is not going to eliminate any content, and should be non-controversial. Thegreatdr (talk) 17:06, 18 June 2009 (UTC)
Sorry, I was teasing, which is perhaps not very helpful. Thats a quote from the GW article and there is a ref too William M. Connolley (talk) 20:31, 18 June 2009 (UTC)

Can we remove the undue weight tag from the global warming impact section? Its size is much more appropriate, now that the non-AGW information has been moved elsewhere. If I remember right, the round of edits from a day or two ago introduced the tag, but I'm just making sure it's okay. Thegreatdr (talk) 19:43, 18 June 2009 (UTC)

Yes William M. Connolley (talk) 20:31, 18 June 2009 (UTC)
Very good. Thegreatdr (talk) 20:33, 18 June 2009 (UTC)

I've split one of the large sections into smaller chunks, then rearranged a few of the sections around. A few of them are stubby for the time being due to this breakup. The reason this was done was to help determine if the article followed a reasonably logical sequence. The stubby sections will likely be remerged into larger sections some point soon. It is clear that the air quality section can be expanded, which will be done shortly. Let me know what you think of the current order/arrangement of the article. If there is strong support for the previous sequence, or a different sequence, changes can easily be made. Thegreatdr (talk) 21:00, 18 June 2009 (UTC) If it is true that urban heating is not in the global warming article, then it really can't be much of an article, because the only reason I read this article was because I found a reference in an article on global warming. Isn't the usual policy to have a quick resume of urban heat effect as part of the global warming debate and then there should be a much fuller section in the global warming article. (talk) 13:24, 15 August 2009 (UTC)

Reference issues still not resolved[edit]

Where are Jones and Landsburg used within this article? It's hard to determine since I don't have those books. I'd like to place them as proper inline references, in order to keep a similar reference format throughout the article. Reference 3 has a copyright violation tag, which doesn't inherently make sense since the link is from the U.S. government, whose non-classified information is within the public domain by definition. Also, reference 18 is not only dead, but it appears the AMS is blocking the internet wayback machine from accessing the formerly active link. Do any of you remember what the paper's name and authors were? Also, it is unclear how the Anthony Watts reference is being used to support the previous sentence. Just trying to make sure the Watts reference isn't an attempt to do original research, which would definitely prevent GA or FA status in the future. For the record, it appears only six passages need inline references in order to upgrade the status of the article back to B class, and potentially submit the article for GAN (at least from that angle). Thegreatdr (talk) 20:38, 18 June 2009 (UTC)

I found references which support the remaining passages. For now, Jones and Landsburg are in a section called Further reading. Thegreatdr (talk) 20:24, 27 June 2009 (UTC)
The dead wikilink has been removed, since no one has been forthcoming over the past month about what that actual source was. Thegreatdr (talk) 18:37, 17 July 2009 (UTC)

Questions, comments and suggestions[edit]

I have some issues with the current text:

  • The lead either needs to be referenced or there needs to be discussed in the body of the article backed up by reliable sources.
  • The first two sentences of the second paragraph should have {{fact}} tags scattered about. See below regarding RS.
  • And it needs a {{clarifyme}} tag as well. "[UHI] increases the death rate during heat waves which increases by latitude." Huh?
  • UHI doesn't allow pollutants to form, although it may increase photochemical smog formation.
  • Another {{clarifyme}} or {{fact}} tag for "Not all cities have a distinct urban heat island, however."
  • Mitigation by "green roofs" needs to mention evapotranspiration, they don't reflect more. (also in the mitigation section)
I see the problem with the first two sentences of the lead not lying within the article below, which will be quickly corrected. An effort has been made to clean up the wording. As for your belief in UHI not causing pollutants to form, see reference 29. Thegreatdr (talk) 21:02, 12 August 2009 (UTC)
Reference 29 is currently [3]. Doesn't even mention UHI. -Atmoz (talk) 21:38, 12 August 2009 (UTC)
It follows from the first paragraph. Thegreatdr (talk) 00:57, 13 August 2009 (UTC)
No it doesn't. Pollutants can form in the absence of UHI. -Atmoz (talk) 01:28, 13 August 2009 (UTC)
Ok. Follow the logic from the first paragraph of the article. If high temperatures cause the formation of ozone in the low levels, and the urban heat island effect increases temperatures, then it follows that more ozone would be produced. Of course pollutants can form in the absence of the urban heat island. But the focus of this article is not on pollutants, merely what impact the urban heat island would have on them. Thegreatdr (talk) 04:39, 13 August 2009 (UTC)
That's fine. But it's not what the article said before. -Atmoz (talk) 17:10, 13 August 2009 (UTC)
  • Second sentence is unclear. "The principal reason for the night-time warming is (comparatively warm) buildings blocking the way to the (relatively cold) night sky (see thermal radiation)." I understand what is meant, but I don't think a casual reader would.
  • "Some cities exhibit a heat island effect, largest at night (see below), and particularly in summer,[3] or perhaps in winter,[4] with several degrees between the center of the city and surrounding fields." Huh? Which is it, summer or winter? This is paradoxical, unlike the supposed paradox discussed below.
The wording has been cleaned up. Thegreatdr (talk) 21:02, 12 August 2009 (UTC)
Testing of theory
  • Seems to confuse the urban heat island effect with the influence of the urban heat island on the temperature record at specific locations in urban areas.
Diurnal behaviour
  • "Though the air temperature within the UHI is generally most apparent at night, urban heat islands exhibit significant and somewhat paradoxical diurnal behavior. The air temperature within the UHI is large at night and small during the day, while the opposite is true for the surface temperatures within the UHI." Unclear. Is this talking about changes in air temperature, not actual temperatures? What is meant my surface temperature? Air temperature? If surface temperature is the actual temperature of the ground and air temperature is the temperature measured 1.5-2 meters above ground level, then I don't see anything paradoxical about the diurnal behaviour.
Cleaned up wording to clear up the confusion. Thegreatdr (talk) 21:17, 12 August 2009 (UTC)
Other impacts
  • Are any of these sources reliable? None are journal articles.
Journal articles are not the only reliable sort of reference. In fact, they may be the worst type of reference, because contradictory journal articles are frequently published. Is there an wikipedia-based reason for the references in this section not being reliable? Thegreatdr (talk) 21:02, 12 August 2009 (UTC)
And you prefer webpages? -Atmoz (talk) 21:38, 12 August 2009 (UTC)
I see nothing wrong with webpages from reliable sources, such as NASA. Thegreatdr (talk) 00:58, 13 August 2009 (UTC)
Would you have a problem with using this? -Atmoz (talk) 01:22, 13 August 2009 (UTC)
In this case, I would have a problem using that web page, because the web page itself mentions that the graphic has been updated. =) Thegreatdr (talk) 13:58, 28 August 2009 (UTC)
Health effects
  • None of the sources in this section are from medical journals. An editor experienced with medical issues should proofread this section, and attempts should be made to find reliable medical sources.
Good luck there. This article hadn't changed appreciably in two years before I started editing it. If you're serious about this, you should follow through by making a comment within the biology or medical projects. Despite experienced editors working on this article, follow through has been a real problem here. Thegreatdr (talk) 21:02, 12 August 2009 (UTC)
You're the one trying to make this a "good" article. Right now it ain't good, by any definition of good besides WPs. -Atmoz (talk) 21:38, 12 August 2009 (UTC)
It's your suggestion. Be bold. I don't own this article. Thegreatdr (talk) 00:57, 13 August 2009 (UTC)
Other thoughts
  • There seem to be too many quotes. Why aren't the sources summarized instead of quoting large portions of text?
  • (Avoid parenthetical comments: if it is really worth saying, say out in the open.)
  • Per MOS, don't use italics for quotations. Use quotation marks or block quotes.

That's enough for now. -Atmoz (talk) 23:40, 11 August 2009 (UTC)

I see you've noticed the block quotes, which is a legacy issue. I have actually reduced the amount of direct quotes significantly within this article, and have further reduced them down to two occurrences, per your comments. I can reduce the block quotes down to zero, but will await the actual GAN review to see if it's truly needed. Thegreatdr (talk) 21:02, 12 August 2009 (UTC)

I take issue with this:

"Increased temperatures and sunny days help lead to the formation of low-level ozone from volatile organic compounds and nitrous oxides which already exist in the air."

Higher temperatures result in an increase in the formation of photochemical smog -- specifically Peroxyacyl Nitrates. The reaction to form Ozone should also include Carbon Monoxide, but it would need to be established whether or not increased temperatures result in an increase in the formation of Ozone.

Tyrerj (talk) 15:52, 7 April 2011 (UTC)

for example, urban and rural trends are very similar.[12][edit]

There is a clear contradiction within this article. It is very obvious from the graph of Tokyo temperatures, that urban temperatures have increased with respect to rural temperatures. And having lived near London, everyone knows that London is hotter than the surrounding areas sufficient to warrant different clothing when going into London.

So clearly someone must be pulling our legs when they put in: "urban and rural trends are very similar". I've no idea how such a rediculous statement managed to get into this otherwise good article - perhaps there is some kind of adjustment which takes account of the obvious urban heating? Whatever, the cause, it needs sorting! (talk) 13:33, 15 August 2009 (UTC)

That's how I interpreted it. How the temperature in established cities was rising at the same rate as consistently rural areas. If a rural area becomes urbanized, clearly the temperature rate in the urbanizing area will exceed that of either the established city or the established rural area until it builds up into a city. Thegreatdr (talk) 21:37, 21 August 2009 (UTC)

GA Review[edit]

This review is transcluded from Talk:Urban heat island/GA1. The edit link for this section can be used to add comments to the review.
Starting review. Pyrotec (talk) 10:26, 5 September 2009 (UTC)

Initial comments[edit]

Sorry for the delay in responding. Superficially, this article has all the appearances of a good article: it appears to be well-illustrated, well-referenced and it has a good WP:lead. However, the section on Causes worries me, so I might skip over this one and then come back to it later. Pyrotec (talk) 19:34, 7 September 2009 (UTC)

My preference is to work through the article section by section, but leaving the Lead until last. However, in this case I might consider the Lead twice.

  • This appears to be a good introduction to the article.

:* It should also summarise the main points of the article - I don't intend to consider this here.

  • Change of plan. The lead does not mention global warming. Working through the references in Testing of theory, I came across discussion of possible confusion with gobal warming, then there is a nice section on Relation to global warming; so this needs to be concisely summarised and added to the WP:Lead.
  • Causes -
  • I'm not considering this section in detail yet.
  • However, the third paragraph gives the example: The difference in temperature between an inner city and its surrounding suburbs is frequently mentioned in weather reports: e.g., "68 degrees downtown, 64 in the suburbs". I presume these are degrees F - but as this article aspires to being a GA, that uncertainty is not acceptable; and you aught to give the Celsius equivalents in brackets.
  • This needs a reference: "The color black absorbs significantly more electromagnetic radiation, and causes the surfaces of roads and highways to heat up substantially".
  •  Done; Nice reference. Pyrotec (talk) 21:18, 11 September 2009 (UTC)
  • Testing of theory -
  • Is there a typo in the first paragraph? This sentence, seems poorly constructed: "After trends were adjusted in urban weather stations around the world to match rural stations in their regions, in an effort to homogenise the temperature record, 42% warmed the urban trends: which is to say that in 42% of cases, the cities were getting cooler relative to their surroundings rather than warmer.
  • There is some ambiguity in the second paragraph, i.e "with corrections, for example, for the tendency of surrounding rural stations to be slightly higher, and thus cooler, than urban areas". What is "higher" a measurement of - height, altitude, temperture, etc?

.... to be continued. Pyrotec (talk) 19:54, 7 September 2009 (UTC)

Made an attempt to tackle those two concerns. Hopefully, the text should be clearer, and less ambiguous, now. Thegreatdr (talk) 21:23, 7 September 2009 (UTC)
I'll look again for a reference that black absorbs more heat. This concept is so old, I could not find it clearly stated in any primary sources, certainly not research papers from the 20th century onward. I'll add the F/C convert templates as well. Thegreatdr (talk) 21:50, 7 September 2009 (UTC)
OK, if necessary, I could probably find a physics book ref for "black absortion"; and then we don't need to worry so much about roads/highways. Pyrotec (talk) 22:08, 7 September 2009 (UTC)

Note: I feel more comfortable that this is GA material, we just need to clean up a few minor points.

...continuing tomorrow. Pyrotec (talk) 22:08, 7 September 2009 (UTC)

  • Diurnal behavior -
  • Compliant with WP:WIAGA; but it would be nice if the date of Luke Howard's work was added; and, I suspect that you mean "air temperature difference (or differential)" rather than "air temperature".
  • Other impacts on weather and climate -
  • Appears to be compliant.
  • Health effects -
  • Appears to be compliant, but ref 31 has changed its web address and there is an automatic redirect.
  • Impact on energy usage -
  • Appears to be compliant.
    • Think I've taken care of your recent concerns. Let me know if I have not. Thegreatdr (talk) 22:44, 8 September 2009 (UTC)
      • Just fixed ref 31, per your comments above. The Internet Wayback Machine is a wonderful thing. Thegreatdr (talk) 18:09, 9 September 2009 (UTC)
        • Per your earlier comment regarding global warming in the lead, there are a couple lines about it in the lead already...originally there was only one, so I'm guessing you added the other. Thegreatdr (talk) 17:03, 10 September 2009 (UTC)
  • Mitigation -
  • Ref 32 34 is a 72 page report, so a page number is required. (Sorry my typo) Pyrotec (talk) 10:01, 13 September 2009 (UTC)
  • Ref 36 is a 172 page report, so a page number is required.
  • Otherwise OK.
  • Relation to global warming -
  • Appears to be compliant.
  • Causes (2nd pass) -
  • 1st paragraph:- I don't have access to ref 3, so I can't check this directly myself. The 1st sentence worries me a bit. I would suggest that the buildings block the ground from receiving heat radition (from the sun) during the daytime; so instead the heat radiation heats up the buildings. Therefore, the buildings have available heat to radiate at nighttime and so they are acting as a heat source in place of the ground. Perhaps that is what you are intended to write, but it could be read to mean the opposite, as its not all that clear. The remainder of the paragraph (still) makes sense as it discusses the differences between buildings and ground.
  • 2nd paragraph:- the paragraph "Another effect of buildings is the blocking of wind, which also inhibits cooling by convection" worries me. I don't have access to ref 3, so I can't check this directly myself; however the rest of the paragraph appears to make sense. I vaguely rememeber seeing TV programmes about skyscraper buildings in cities; and the local microclimate around the buildings. From memory the "urban canyon effect" produces quite strong winds around the foot of the buildings; and that would suggest to me that there is increased cooling at ground level due to increased wind speed during the daytime and possibly during night time. There could also be vertical heat mixing, due to turbulance.
  • This appears to be both a good introduction to the article and a summary of the main points, so in the main it is compliant.
  • Perhaps I missed it in the body of the article, but the lead states that "Seasonally, UHI is larger in winter than in summer" whereas in Clauses it states "Seasonally, UHI shows up both in summer and winter". The lead appears to be "teasing" the reader with some (only a bit) of information that may not be in the body of the article.

Pyrotec (talk) 17:08, 12 September 2009 (UTC)

I believe I've dealt with the new issues. The heat retention properties of materials used in cities is the primary cause of overnight warmth, and a tidbit of this has been added to the lead. Since concrete has such a significant retention of heat when compared to the ground, it wouldn't need as much direct sun during the day to be a factor, so I've left those lines in but decreased their emphasis. Overall, cities significantly increase friction between the winds blowing over a city and the winds near street level. The wind increase in urban canyons due to the buildings in city blocks does not compensate for the increased friction reducing winds within urban heat islands. Thegreatdr (talk) 23:48, 12 September 2009 (UTC)
Placed a page number with ref 36. Ref 32 doesn't appear to need one, because that webpage is short, and not multiple pages long. Thegreatdr (talk) 01:45, 13 September 2009 (UTC)
Sorry, typo on my part; it should be Ref 34, not 32. Pyrotec (talk) 10:01, 13 September 2009 (UTC)
The page number was added for ref 34. The reference was for the graph on page 14. Thegreatdr (talk) 13:32, 13 September 2009 (UTC)

Overall summary[edit]

GA review – see WP:WIAGA for criteria

A interesting, well-referenced article.

  1. Is it reasonably well written?
    A. Prose quality:
    B. MoS compliance:
  2. Is it factually accurate and verifiable?
    A. References to sources:
    B. Citation of reliable sources where necessary:
    C. No original research:
  3. Is it broad in its coverage?
    A. Major aspects:
    B. Focused:
  4. Is it neutral?
    Fair representation without bias:
  5. Is it stable?
    No edit wars, etc:
  6. Does it contain images to illustrate the topic?
    A. Images are copyright tagged, and non-free images have fair use rationales:
    B. Images are provided where possible and appropriate, with suitable captions:
  7. Overall:
    Pass or Fail:

Congratulations on the quality of the article, I'm awarding GA status. Pyrotec (talk) 15:01, 13 September 2009 (UTC)

Testing of theory .ne. GA quality.[edit]

I've left this article alone, since thegreatdr intended to rewrite it too good article status, a worthy goal. And i just noticed that it has been awarded such, so i've started reading it. But at this point i'm not certain that its worth it.

The whole of the section Urban heat island#Testing of theory is either wrong, misleading - or my understanding of the subject is wrong (possible).

That section is not about Heat island theory - but instead about the relationship between the temperature record and urban heat islands, ie. what effects does UHI have on the global/regional temperature record. This is impossible to detect at this point, where the section reads as if scientists are doubting that the UHI is existing. Both of Parkers studies (ref 9,10) is about this, the Black BBC article is on this (ref 11) - and Pielke's comments are also about this (ref 12).

The GA review seems to have been focused entirely on style and left content alone - which isn't good. --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 15:30, 13 September 2009 (UTC)

Your != seems to throw out the section-editor, so I've changed it to the Fortran version. I knew it would come in handy one day :-).
Um... what is wrong with the "Testing of theory" section, other than the title. The text all seems fair enough, though I am obliged to admit bias since I'm pretty sure I wrote much of it, quoting Peterson :-)). I cut the last Pielke bit - that was added very soon after he published his paper, which hasn't withstood the test of time, and now looks like undue weight to a minor viewpoint William M. Connolley (talk) 15:41, 13 September 2009 (UTC)
It looks to me like "Relation to global warming" should go up to where "Testing of theory is", which should be subsumed into it as a subsection William M. Connolley (talk) 15:44, 13 September 2009 (UTC)
Trouble (as i saw it) was that the context was gone (your proposal would restore that btw.). But as the section stood, it was as if people where disputing UHI, instead of what the text is about UHI's effect on the temp. rec. But i may have misunderstood it?
The "testing of theory" bit should be merged into the global warming section, because it's about testing the effect of UHI on GW and not "theory" of UHI per se (which is pretty well established). Short Brigade Harvester Boris (talk) 16:48, 13 September 2009 (UTC)
We can merge that information into the beginning of the global warming section if you would like. There appears to be a consensus here. Thegreatdr (talk) 16:54, 13 September 2009 (UTC)
Err, if you are unsure - then do not consider this a consensus... I specifically requested that WMC and Boris take a look - since they are both more expert on this subject than i. --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 17:24, 13 September 2009 (UTC)
Same here. They are the experts here. I don't doubt that. I am acquainted with the topic, but by no means an expert. I was just trying to get the article referenced enough and into good enough shape to be considered a good article, which involved additional referencing, some restructuring, and some rewriting. I took cues from those who commented on the talk page and GA review when comments were made. Most of the current information was already there before I touched the article. Thegreatdr (talk) 18:33, 13 September 2009 (UTC)
And please do not doubt that it was appreciated :-) I for one kept away so that you could have free hands. --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 19:35, 13 September 2009 (UTC)
Reply to Kim D. Petersen: The requirements of a GA are given here: WP:WIAGA; and I assessed the article for broadness and WP:verifiability as well as style and content. I verified the statements in that section against either the reference-article summaries or the refences directly where I had access to them. I am not a subject matter expert, so I'm not in a position to detect undue weight. You had the opportunity over the last six days to make appropriate comments on the GA review page whilst the review was On Hold; and you were active on wikipedia during that time: OK you did add them after I had finished (and passed the article) and then moved them to this talkpage. If you wish to continue to object to my assessment and/or the classification of the article then you are welcome to take it to WP:GAR. Pyrotec (talk) 19:54, 13 September 2009 (UTC)

Disputed-section tag on "Health effects" section[edit]

I added a "disputed-section" tag to the "Health effects" section because of uncited assertions that UHIs increase mortality during heat waves. The section is, to my eye, written sneakily, with alternating assertions about heat waves and mortality (cited) and then about UHIs aggravating them (uncited). This is possibly logical but the assertions are OR and need citations. Surprised this passed GA review (if it was present at the time). Comet Tuttle (talk) 23:19, 9 December 2009 (UTC)

~ Check out <-- there is a section under the "Hazards of Excessive Heat" Where it states that Cities Pose Special Hazards. It technically does NOT mention UHI's specifically, but as the UHIs are centered around cities and often help to cause stagnant air, you can assume that urban areas (which almost always one must assume an area where the urban heat island effect occurs since there isn't a city out there that isn't hotter than the outside areas) that yes, Urban Heat Islands can and do cause more deaths during heat waves than if you were in a rural area. If someone wants to use this as citation or find a better one in its place feel free, I don't like editing things. Also, one must assume that if a UHI raises the heat by several degrees, during a heat wave, the city would be several degrees hotter than the rural areas during heat waves as well, which in a sense does indeed aggravate them. Or rather the UHI adds to the heat within the city. Thus why there are more deaths in cities during heat waves. It's not so much as written sneakily as the person who wrote it just didn't bother to explain the common sense of the matter too well. -anonymous (talk) 08:13, 13 June 2010 (UTC)

OH, and I found another citation. Direct quote from page: "Increased daytime temperatures, reduced nighttime cooling, and higher air pollution levels associated with urban heat islands can affect human health by contributing to general discomfort, respiratory difficulties, heat cramps and exhaustion, non-fatal heat stroke, and heat-related mortality.

Heat islands can also exacerbate the impact of heat waves, which are periods of abnormally hot, and often humid, weather. Sensitive populations, such as children, older adults, and those with existing health conditions, are at particular risk from these events.

Excessive heat events, or abrupt and dramatic temperature increases, are particularly dangerous and can result in above-average rates of mortality. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that from 1979–2003, excessive heat exposure contributed to more than 8,000 premature deaths in the United States.3 This figure exceeds the number of mortalities resulting from hurricanes, lightning, tornadoes, floods, and earthquakes combined."

That one would be better since it's a government site that specifically states it. Someone should cite it. -Anonymous (talk) 08:19, 13 June 2010 (UTC)

Article probation[edit]

Please note that, by a decision of the Wikipedia community, this article and others relating to climate change (broadly construed) has been placed under article probation. Editors making disruptive edits may be blocked temporarily from editing the encyclopedia, or subject to other administrative remedies, according to standards that may be higher than elsewhere on Wikipedia. Please see Wikipedia:General sanctions/Climate change probation for full information and to review the decision. -- ChrisO (talk) 15:57, 2 January 2010 (UTC)


Increases in the death rate during heat waves has been shown to increase by latitude due to the urban heat island effect. (2nd para, unsourced) The increases increase? By latitude? Because the North Pole is so urbanized?-- (talk) 10:55, 23 January 2010 (UTC)

I deleted the Athens case since currently we are debating on the correct content.Please see Athens discussion —Preceding unsigned comment added by Weatherextremes (talkcontribs) 22:30, 19 November 2010 (UTC)

Following firenax comments I just want to add that due to the content being debated in Athens discussion I believe it is wise NOT to have a non agreed version of this here.

Your idea about my motivation is pure conjecture. You are warmly invited to keep you conjectures for yourself and to keep your points on substantive grounds in order to prevent an official complaint. The paragraph provides readers with reasonable pieces of information on an exemplary case of UHI with scientific findings from a variety of standpoints and lines of research. The piece under discussion in Athens, that is a general article, is just two sentences. Here a wider variety of more precise details was offered, each fully documented and referenced. Moreover what happens in Athens does not matter here. Re-enter the Athens case and then submit some good scientific reason to remove it. Amending (talk) 03:36, 20 November 2010 (UTC)

First of all I dont like your tone.Secondly the version i propose is in the Athens discussion and have detailed the reasons why this should not be included here.I have detailed our personal history from your Italian forum and have given Faranax the opportunity to understand and evaluate both sides.My opinion remains unchanged and this is that the UHI of Athens is purely used as a vehicle for the continuation of the debate in the Italian forum. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Weatherextremes (talkcontribs) 04:51, 20 November 2010 (UTC)

I have also one more detailed version that you kept on editing from the Athens article that is balanced and offered an overview of both sides and not the arbitrary claims supported in your article.For example using an ESA article (which focuses on one day) OR ommiting to mention that climatic change is mentioned as a factor of warming of Athens in Livada,Nastos,Katsoulis and Theoharatos references that you have provided.Quoting sentences that intentionally make Athens appear the world champion of UHI does not seem a good practise —Preceding unsigned comment added by Weatherextremes (talkcontribs) 05:04, 20 November 2010 (UTC)

Your opinions about italian forums and other guesses about people motives do not matter. You have been challenged to advance substantive scientific reasons against that article. The idea that very bad Italian forum users want to let peopole believe that Athens is the world champion of UHI because there is not an article for New York and one for Burnley could be documented by providing as massive systematic scientific evidence against Athens UHI as massive academic scientific material pro-Athens UHI has been provided, plus proves of the intentional selection of sources plus motivational psychometric scale scores showing what you claim. Please remember the rules, especially no personal attacks. Of course you are encouraged to provide such evidences. I agree responding the psychometric motivational scale test, just paste the questionnaire into my user talk. By the way, providing criticisms towards the article that can not be rejected as incompatible with loads of scientific evidence would be a good starting point. Apart from the Katsoulis and Theoharatos (1985) article with the graphs drawn by hands, what can be said? Please notice that nowhere in the article it is said that Athens has UHI stronger than any other city, so the argoument that such content can damage Athens image compared to "unclear whats" refers to unexisting contents. Please refer to existing contents. The article mentioning the ESA mentions a permanent research project; the Thermopolis campaign is not a one-day campaign. Here is a quotation from the article Daglis I.A., Keramitsoglou I. et al. (2010). "Investigating the Urban Heat Island (UHI) effect in Athens through a combination of space, airborne and ground-based observations". Proc. of the 10th International Conference on Meteorology, Climatology and Atmospheric Physics, Patras, Greece, May 25th-28th, 2010, pp. 469-477 (I copy-paste from page 469): In November 2008 a consortium of several institutes and companies from five European countries started the implementation of the project Urban Heat Islands and Urban Thermography (UHI), funded by the European Space Agency (ESA). The consortium consists of Planetek Italia s.r.l., as the coordinator, the Institute for Space Applications and Remote Sensing of the National Observatory of Athens (NOA-ISARS, Greece), the Flemish institute for technological research (Vlaamse Instelling voor Technologisch Onderzoek – VITO, Belgium), and the companies Indra (Spain), EDISOFT S.A. (Portugal) and EUROSENSE (Belgium). Furthermore, the Laboratory of Atmospheric Physics of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (Greece) participates in the project through a partnership with NOA-ISARS. The main goal of the UHI project is the integration of satellite remote sensing observations – acquired mainly in the Thermal Infrared (TIR) part of electromagnetic radiation – with weather and ancillary ground measurements (e.g. temperature, relative humidity and wind speed) into urban meteorological and climate modelling. The long-term aim is to help decision and policy makers in better forecasting, preventing and mitigating the impact of Urban Heat Islands during heat waves, through appropriate alert systems, and in reducing the risk through dedicated urban land planning.. This is not a one-day research project. Here we see international institutions studying together a case of UHI in order to handle it in favor of Athens and its population. You can properly argue that the result of one day may not be overgeneralized (and in fact it is reported without saying that it is all the times the same thing: seasonal and territorial differences are ackowledged) but the idea that Athens UHI has been screened by satellite only for one day can not be suggested as such idea is not true.

Nevertheless I agree that mentioning the Thermopolis campaign is not enough. This international agreement between institutions and organizations in performing such "UHI Project" should be mentioned. My fault, I am ready to add it. In my opinion Greece should be proud of how systematically and intensively the problem of Athens UHI is screened by Greek universities, NOA, and international organizations. Not for the the magnitude of UHI, of course, but for how rationally and systematically they are reacting to the UHI problem. Amending (talk) 15:53, 20 November 2010 (UTC)

But Katsoulis is the first one to stress that MEANS evaluation suggest non uniform UHI for Athens and almost zero for Thiseio[edit]

I mean we have been through this like FOR EVER in your Italian forum.The quote is clear and they say however examination of the mean maximum and mean temperatures show that the urban heat island is almost eliminated. I mean come on now I have produced this quote like 10 times in your Italian forum and you keep on ignoring it.This reflects the other side within their own article.As I said endless academic review wont do the trick.If you are inclined to take up research on Thiseio and Athens UHI that is fine,non the less the crutial factor is the fact that Athens as the warmest city in Europe during the summer on average seems to me the argument that you really want to attack. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Weatherextremes (talkcontribs) 16:13, 20 November 2010 (UTC)

Recent paring back of content[edit]

Just so you're aware, a significant amount of global warming information not relevant to this article was removed. Most of it was unreferenced, and it created an article imbalance as well. If it's needed within wikipedia, it needs to be placed into a more relevant article. If the urban heat island effect and global warming are virtually uncorrelated, this paring back of global warming information should not be an issue. This should allow the article to stay at GA status as well. Thegreatdr (talk) 15:28, 14 August 2011 (UTC)

In this diff from 14 August 2011, Thegreatdr (talk · contribs) took out a lot from the #Global warming section. I feel he did not go far enough. The section is still way too large compared with other sections of the article, for instance the #Impact on energy usage section is only 4 sentences long compared to 8 paragraphs for the GW section. I've gone ahead and tagged the section as {{undue|section}}. I'll try to stop back in a few weeks to take action if no one else has before then. -Nathan Johnson (talk) 22:57, 3 November 2011 (UTC)
The present size and tone of this section seems about right to me. This is sill a controversial topic, which is regularly featured in the general news and in the climate-science literature and blogosphere. --Pete Tillman (talk) 16:20, 8 November 2011 (UTC)
I disagree with it being controversial, but don't wish to argue about it. The article and talk had been relatively silent for about a year before I posted, so I figured ya'll were too busy arguing at another page or something. I'll head on back to other, more mundane awesome topics. Feel free to remove the undue tag if it hasn't been already. I'll stumble across this page again in about 2 years. See you then. :) Cheers, -Nathan Johnson (talk) 20:20, 9 November 2011 (UTC)


I've removed this[4] edit, because a) i couldn't verify it, and because it is inconsistent (and incompatible) with Ruddiman's published comments here[5]. I quote (underlining mine):

What about the urban heat-island effect?

Some claim that compilations of surface temperature are compromised by anomalous warmth at stations located in “heat islands” warmed by urban growth, but urban areas cover less than 2% of Earth’s land surface. Station data from the Arctic demonstrate that this non-urbanized region has experienced a warming larger than the global average, a conclusion also supported by decreasing snow cover and sea ice trends measured by satellites and borehole temperature trends. In addition, many stations from other non-urbanized areas show warming trends larger than the global average. Early attempts to estimate global average temperature were compromised by the heatisland effect, but methods have now removed most of this

overprint. Any such effect remaining in the observations is estimated to contribute <5% to the warming trend in hemispheric and global-average temperatures.

I suggest that the 30% is either a printing error (3% seems more likely) - or a misread. --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 21:02, 8 November 2011 (UTC)

Kim: it's definitely not a misread -- I have the book in front of me -- but, since this is a later publication, perhaps he changed his mind. The 30% may be a carryover from the book's first edition in 2000 -- no cite in the text that I could find. Thanks for the later cite, Pete Tillman (talk) 21:48, 8 November 2011 (UTC)
I make no claims to any ability at arithmetic, but would note that the SAR of 1995 p. 27 said "Urbanisation in general and desertification could have contributed only a small part (a few hundredths of a degree) of the overall global warming, although urbanisation influences may have been important in some regions." More detailed info on pp. 142–143 concluded "an urbanisation uncertainty of less than 0.05°C is estimated (Section The overall uncertainty remains about 0.15°C and leads to an estimate of 0.3 to 0.6°C for global near-surface warming since the late 19th century, unchanged from the estimates of IPCC (1990, 1992)." Thus Ruddiman's book appears to be out of line with the understanding in 1995.
Ruddiman's book also seemingly deviates from the 2001 TAR as cited in our article, which says "These results confirm the conclusions of Jones et al. (1990) and Easterling et al. (1997) that urban effects on 20th century globally and hemispherically averaged land air temperature time-series do not exceed about 0.05°C over the period 1900 to 1990".
More significantly, why are we citing the TAR and not AR4? . . dave souza, talk 18:04, 9 November 2011 (UTC)

Here's something to keep eye on, for future study[edit]

In this article it's quoted: "In a worldwide set of about 270 stations, Parker (2004, 2006) noted that warming trends in night minimum temperatures over the period 1950 to 2000 were not enhanced on calm nights, which would be the time most likely to be affected by urban warming. Thus, the global land warming trend discussed is very unlikely to be influenced significantly by increasing urbanisation (Parker, 2006)" The new study where they detected increased temperature close to windmills makes the premise of Parkers study incorrect. The premise in the Parker study was that UHI would be higher on calm night as on windy nights the wind would bring cool air to cities. It is thought that windmills warm the area with turbulence, pulling warmer air down. That is problematic to Parker study, if true. High buildings in city too will cause turbulence and pull warm air down. That would mean the temperature difference between calm and windy days wouldn't be as high as Parker supposes. Haven't seen a article making tht connection yet, one should be coming soon. Or has anybody else seen some scientist making the connection, in article that can be quoted in wiki? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:02, 12 May 2012 (UTC)

I think you're wrong: High buildings in city too will cause turbulence and pull warm air down doesn't apply on calm nights William M. Connolley (talk) 14:46, 13 February 2013 (UTC)

Merge proposal[edit]

I think heat pollution and urban heat island cover the same ground. Since Wikipedia articles are generally about things, not terms, having two separate articles is a form of content forkery. I'm assuming the latter term is more common, though I could be wrong. — Ƶ§œš¹ [ãːɱ ˈfɹ̠ˤʷɪ̃ə̃nlɪ] 13:23, 22 September 2012 (UTC)

Seems reasonable. This is the one to keep William M. Connolley (talk) 16:51, 22 September 2012 (UTC)
I agree with WMC. --Pete Tillman (talk) 23:42, 22 September 2012 (UTC)
Now I've seen everything. Perhaps there is something in that whole Maya calendar thing, after all ;-). --Stephan Schulz (talk) 23:57, 22 September 2012 (UTC)
This is the better article, so if there's a merger, it's into this one. Thegreatdr (talk) 00:29, 23 September 2012 (UTC)
...though if that article were expanded, merger wouldn't be needed. =) Thegreatdr (talk) 17:21, 19 December 2012 (UTC)
 Done. Uncontested merge. — Ƶ§œš¹ [ãːɱ ˈfɹ̠ˤʷɪ̃ə̃nlɪ] 21:53, 19 December 2012 (UTC)

New ref?[edit]

We should add this sometime: — Preceding unsigned comment added by William M. Connolley (talkcontribs)

And this one: William M. Connolley (talk) 18:44, 12 July 2014 (UTC)

A view often held vs a major argument[edit]

The source says "A major argument used by sceptics of global warming..." I changed the Wiki article to match, saying "a view often" held is unsupported by the source and inaccurate unless another notable source is found that supports that POV. I would prefer we keep things as accurate as possible by using what the source actually says. Thank you for your time. Theblog (talk) 00:35, 17 February 2013 (UTC)

I realized I didn't specifically the comment made "No, don't like it - gives too much credibility" I understand if you don't like it, however, what you like has nothing to do with what makes the article the most accurate. The most accurate article matches the source and doesn't introduce POV. Credibility actually comes from matching the source, not editorializing. Thank you for your time. Theblog (talk) 00:40, 17 February 2013 (UTC)

If you want to use the source, I'm happy to say "Climate change sceptics 'wrong'", or "A major argument used by sceptics of global warming is flawed". But perhaps you don't like that bit of the source? William M. Connolley (talk) 15:34, 17 February 2013 (UTC)
I switched it back, "A view often held" is not sourced, for inclusion into an article it requires a source, please find one. Theblog (talk) 16:20, 24 February 2013 (UTC)
See my comment above, and stop the POV pushing. Are you here to actually improve wiki, or just irritate people? William M. Connolley (talk) 12:04, 25 February 2013 (UTC)

Effects on Animals[edit]

Here is a link to my sandbox that has my proposed changes and additions to the effects on Animals section of this article. Feel free to comment.

Arch361student (talk) 18:29, 23 September 2014 (UTC)


This article contains no history of the discovery of the heat island effect, which has been observed since the 1820s. A section devoted to this would throw much else that has been contested above into relief. As well as mention of one early metereological researcher, Luke Howard, acknowledged as the discoverer (working in London), there are many others in the literature who deserve inclusion, including Emilien Renou (Paris, 1855), Wilhelm Schmidt in 1917, with later studies in 1927, 1930; and August Schmauss, 1927 in Munich.

I am hesitant to go ahead and create the section without agreement from the major contributors.

It is a concern that the article mentions so many American examples and regulations, when so much research into the heat island effect, and its rectification, has been done in Europe and elsewhere, as the history shows. sinarau (talk) 02:04, 20 June 2015 (UTC)

Sounds good, as ever the main issue will to be to work from good quality WP:SOURCES. Weart briefly discusses the topic, mentioning Callendar and Mitchell, his reference footnotes lead to papers by others e.g. Landsberg (1955), Budyko (1962) and Dronia (1967), which could be worth investigating. Be bold!. . dave souza, talk 18:44, 20 June 2015 (UTC)

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@William M. Connolley: You're right, my edit deserved more explanation. It's "justified" because it repaired a considerable amount of scientific incoherence:

  • "Short-wave radiation" is not "within concrete and asphalt".
  • "Long-wave radiation" does not "make cooling a slow process".
  • "The thermal properties of surface materials" are not "other reasons"; it's the same principal reason. The explanation shouldn't be interrupted by the sentences about vegetation, and the misplaced later sentence about "black surfaces" should logically lead the explanation.
  • "Low albedo" is not a "cooling effect".
  • Energy economics is an incorrect wiki link for the vague "energy balance" under discussion, and "energy budget" is the phrase correctly used later in the article.
  • "The air, which is a greenhouse gas" is incorrectly phrased.
  • "Secondary gas" has no meaning out of context.
  • The "unreliable source" template explains the source's error about a dubious claim that's inconsistent with a later section of the WP article.

Hope this helps – let me know if any particular items trouble you. Sorry for not providing these details sooner. –Patrug (talk) 09:58, 31 August 2015 (UTC)

Your stuff is still wrong; your ref for the principal reason doesn't even mention UHI William M. Connolley (talk) 10:27, 31 August 2015 (UTC)
OK, I just moved the CSU ref to follow the journal article. Anything else look wrong to you? (I basically did a cleanup of the content that was already there, keeping all the same refs – no significant change in substance.) –Patrug (talk) 10:37, 31 August 2015 (UTC)

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