Quantifying urban heat island effects and human comfort for cities of variable size and urban morphology in the Netherlands

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

225 Citations (Scopus)


This paper reports on the canopy layer urban heat island (UHI) and human comfort in a range of small to large cities and villages in the Netherlands. So far, this subject has not been substantially studied in the Netherlands, since it has a relatively mild Cfb climate and impact was assumed to be minor. To fill this knowledge gap, this paper reports on observations of a selected network of good quality hobby meteorologists, including The Hague and Rotterdam. Furthermore, a number of alternative measures is utilized to quantify UHI, i.e. the Generalized Extreme Value distribution and return periods of UHI and adverse human comfort, including their uncertainties estimated using the statistical method of bootstrapping. It appeared essential to distinguish between observations at roof level and within the urban canyon, since the latter related more closely to exposure at pedestrian level and urban canyon properties in their close neighborhood. The results show that most Dutch cities experience a substantial UHI, i.e. a mean daily maximum UHI of 2.3 K and a 95 percentile of 5.3 K, and that all cities reveal a shadow effect in the morning when cities remain cooler than the rural surroundings. Also, an evident relation between the median of the daily maximum UHI and its 95 percentile was discovered. Furthermore, the 95 percentile of the UHI appears well correlated with population density. In addition, we find a significant decrease of UHI and the percentage of surface area covered by green vegetation, but the relation with open water remains unclear.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberD20129
Number of pages42
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • climatic change
  • urban areas
  • temperature
  • towns
  • meteorological observations
  • volunteers
  • rotterdam
  • outdoor thermal comfort
  • temperature differences
  • atmospheric models
  • climate
  • layer
  • balance
  • stress
  • impact


Dive into the research topics of 'Quantifying urban heat island effects and human comfort for cities of variable size and urban morphology in the Netherlands'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this