EMS Annual Meeting Abstracts
Vol. 20, EMS2023-544, 2023, updated on 06 Jul 2023
EMS Annual Meeting 2023
© Author(s) 2023. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Understanding Cold Climate Cities: Implications for Urban Sustainability

Victoria Miles1, Igor Esau1,2, and Martin Miles3,4
Victoria Miles et al.
  • 1NERSC, Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research, Bergen, Norway (victoria.miles@nersc.no)
  • 2UiT, Institute of Physics and Technology, Norwegian Arctic University – University in Tromsø, Tromsø, Norway (igor.ezau@uit.no)
  • 3NORCE, Norwegian Research Centre, Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research, Bergen, Norway (mmil@norceresearch.no)
  • 4Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research, University of Colorado, Boulder, USA.

Studying urban climate in cold climate cities is essential for understanding the implications for urban sustainability. Recent research has found that urban areas in high northern latitudes experience intense and persistent positive temperature anomalies, known as urban heat islands (UHI). Heat accumulation from year to year creates a cumulative UHI effect that fundamentally changes the environment and soil properties, affecting vegetation productivity and the length of the growing season. The warmer urban climate has significant implications for the urban economy, environment, and human health, particularly in light of global climate change in the cold climate regions. This study analyzes land surface temperature data in the seven largest cities in the European Arctic, ranging in population from 50,000 to nearly 300,000 and spanning four countries and three bioclimatic zones. The results indicate persistent temperature anomalies every season in the 1–5 ◦C range, with the largest city, Murmansk (Russia), showing the highest values. The study also finds a strong inverse relationship between surface UHI intensity and temporal variability. The more substantial the surface UHI, the more stable it is and the lower its temporal variability. We found no general direction of surface UHI change in the long term. The study also suggests that compact and dense urban infrastructure has a more significant impact than the geographical setting of the city on UHI. Understanding the intensity and variability of UHI in these regions is crucial for developing sustainable urban planning and management strategies to mitigate the negative impacts of UHI on the environment and human health.

How to cite: Miles, V., Esau, I., and Miles, M.: Understanding Cold Climate Cities: Implications for Urban Sustainability, EMS Annual Meeting 2023, Bratislava, Slovakia, 4–8 Sep 2023, EMS2023-544, https://doi.org/10.5194/ems2023-544, 2023.