What is it about?

Urban cityscapes often have diverse land coverage due to uneven distribution of built structures, open parks, and vegetation. These, in turn, give rise to heterogeneous microclimates influenced by factors such as heat emission from buildings and human activities. However, meteorological sensor networks often fail to record this variability in microclimate. In a 2021 study published to Frontiers, researchers addressed this drawback using crowdsourced sensor networks to record fine-grained temperature variations in Sydney, Australia in real time. They gathered 2.3 million data points from over 500 citizen weather stations and combined them with high-resolution land use data to investigate the intra-urban microclimate. Compared to the reference data from weather stations, crowdsourced stations recorded higher and lower maximum temperatures on warm and cool days, respectively. Distance from the coast was a dominant govern-ing factor, with higher daytime temperature recorded for inland sensors. Night-time temperatures, on the other hand, were found to be lower for regions with more vegetation cover.

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Why is it important?

The ongoing climate change has amplified the already elevated temperatures experienced in cities. If not closely monitored and controlled, this could lead to an increase in urban energy usage and create a negative impact on the well-being of citizens. With more than half of the global population currently living in urban areas, establishing fine-grained and real-time local climate monitoring systems is, therefore, imperative. KEY TAKEAWAY Citizen weather stations can provide high-resolution data pertinent to health monitoring and urban planning. While there are challenges to interpreting this data, crowdsourced weather stations can help us over-come the limitations of traditional networks.

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This page is a summary of: Combining High-Resolution Land Use Data With Crowdsourced Air Temperature to Investigate Intra-Urban Microclimate, Frontiers in Environmental Science, September 2021, Frontiers, DOI: 10.3389/fenvs.2021.720323.
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