In the multi-year study, the prestigious inner southern suburb of Unley emerges as 1°C warmer than the Adelaide CBD and up to 4°C warmer than beach suburbs. Other hot spots appear in the Mitcham and the northern council areas of Salisbury, Port Adelaide-Enfield, Tea Tree Gully and Campbelltown.
During the night, the city (Central Business District) emerges as the leading hot spot – despite the surrounding parklands providing a bonus cooling effect.
“In Adelaide, sea breezes are an important cooling source in summer,” says Associate Professor Huade Guan, explaining the study recently published in the Journal of Geophysical Research.
The research was funded by the state and local government and other agencies to investigate the urban heat island effect in a coastal city.
“A 6°C cooling is easily observed at Adelaide Airport at the onset of a sea breeze but as a sea breeze progresses inland, it gradually loses its strength and cooling power.
“In fact, the study shows that the cooling power can only penetrate 20km inland in Adelaide, putting Unley and the northern areas beyond direct reach.
“The topography between Unley and the arrival of cooler south-westerly sea breezes coming in off Seacliff tends to weaken or block the cooling effects,” Associate Professor Guan says, adding additional City of Unley tree-planting and greening has some mitigating effects.
At night time when sea breezes are absent, the hot spot drifts away from Unley in a south-west direction to concrete-laden areas along the Main South Road where heat retention is high.
Similarly, the open space of the city parklands does not store as much heat, offering a buffer to radiate heat away from the high-density urban environs of the CBD area.
The study will help councils and government authorities to develop more sustainable practices for urban planning.
The project was funded by multiple State government departments, including DEWNR and DPTI, as well as SA Water, Adelaide City Council and Flinders University.
Guan H, Vinodkumar V, Clay R, Kent C, Bennett JM, Ewenz CM, et al (2016). Temporal and spatial patterns of air temperature in a coastal city with a slope base setting. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 121(10) pp. 5336-5355.
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