Urban Heat overview
Summary of indicator
To measure the current urban heat island effects.
The built environment sits within a wider environmental context that is influenced by human activity. Urban areas can become significantly warmer than surrounding vegetated areas due to human activity and development, when cities replace natural land cover with dense concentrations of pavement, buildings, and other surfaces that absorb and retain heat. This creates islands of urban heat, with temperatures differing more during the night than during the daytime. Changes in land-use from grasslands to medium density result in the greatest increase in heat (0.5°C – 0.9°C).
This indicator will support practitioners to understand the urban heat island effects across urban areas of NSW. Based on the outcome of the assessment, practitioners can determine whether mitigation measures such as greening will improve the urban heat island effect. It can also provide insights into the relationship between green cover or development proposals and urban heat.
The practitioners can use the urban heat island effect metric to measure the effects of urban heat islands and the impacts of changing land-uses.
Urban heat island effect
When complete and published by the Place Based Science team from DPIE, the ‘2019 urban heat island to modified mesh blocks dataset for Greater Sydney Region’ could be utilised to provide a more up-to-date analysis of urban heat island effects. It is to be derived using the CSIRO 2018/19 LST and UHI estimates for Australian urban centres.
Metric in detail