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Characteristics of the mean radiant temperature in high latitude cities—implications for sensitive climate planning applications

Journal article
Authors Fredrik Lindberg
Björn Holmer
Sofia Thorsson
D.P. Rayner
Published in International Journal Of Biometeorology
Volume 58
Issue 5
Pages 613–627
ISSN 0020-7128
Publication year 2014
Published at Department of Earth Sciences
Pages 613–627
Language en
Keywords SOLWEIG, Urban geometry, Mean radiant temperature, Sweden, Göteborg, Luleå, Stockholm
Subject categories Physical Geography, Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences


Knowledge of how the mean radiant temperature (T mrt ) is affected by factors such as location, climate and urban setting contributes to the practice of climate sensitive planning. This paper examines how T mrt varies within an urban setting and how it is influenced by cloudiness. In addition, variations of T mrt in three high latitude cities are investigated in order to analyse the impact of geographical context and climate conditions. Results showed large spatial variations between sunlit and shaded areas during clear weather conditions, with the highest values of T mrt close to sunlit walls and the lowest values in the areas shaded by buildings and vegetation. As cloudiness increases, the spatial pattern is altered and the differences are reduced. The highest T mrt under cloudy conditions is instead found in open areas where the proportion of shortwave diffuse radiation from the sky vault is high. A regional comparison between three Swedish coastal cities showed that T mrt during summer is similar regardless of latitudinal location. On the other hand, large differences in T mrt during winter were found. Shadows, both from buildings and vegetation are the most effective measure to reduce extreme values of T mrt . However, extensive areas of shadow are usually not desired within outdoor urban environments at high latitude cities. One solution is to create diverse outdoor urban spaces in terms of shadow and also ventilation. This would provide individuals with access to a choice of thermal environments which they can use to assist their thermal regulation, based on personal needs and desires.

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