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Global to city scale urban anthropogenic heat flux: model and variability

Journal article
Authors Lucy Allen
Fredrik Lindberg
C. S. B. Grimmond
Published in International Journal of Climatology
Volume 31
Issue 13
Pages 1990-2005
ISSN 0899-8418
Publication year 2011
Published at
Pages 1990-2005
Language en
Keywords urban climate; anthropogenic heat flux; global climate model; energy balance; metabolism
Subject categories Climate Research


The large scale urban consumption of energy (LUCY) model simulates all components of anthropogenic heat flux (QF) from the global to individual city scale at 2.5 × 2.5 arc-minute resolution. This includes a database of different working patterns and public holidays, vehicle use and energy consumption in each country. The databases can be edited to include specific diurnal and seasonal vehicle and energy consumption patterns, local holidays and flows of people within a city. If better information about individual cities is available within this (open-source) database, then the accuracy of this model can only improve, to provide the community data from global-scale climate modelling or the individual city scale in the future. The results show that QF varied widely through the year, through the day, between countries and urban areas. An assessment of the heat emissions estimated revealed that they are reasonably close to those produced by a global model and a number of small-scale city models, so results from LUCY can be used with a degree of confidence. From LUCY, the global mean urban QF has a diurnal range of 0.7–3.6 W m−2, and is greater on weekdays than weekends. The heat release from building is the largest contributor (89–96%), to heat emissions globally. Differences between months are greatest in the middle of the day (up to 1 W m−2 at 1 pm). December to February, the coldest months in the Northern Hemisphere, have the highest heat emissions. July and August are at the higher end. The least QF is emitted in May. The highest individual grid cell heat fluxes in urban areas were located in New York (577), Paris (261.5), Tokyo (178), San Francisco (173.6), Vancouver (119) and London (106.7).

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