Theoretical and Applied Climatology

, Volume 113, Issue 1, pp 137–154

Urban heat island in a coastal urban area in northern Spain


    • Energy and Environmental DivisionTECNALIA
  • Jon Arrizabalaga
    • Energy and Environmental DivisionTECNALIA
  • Sebastian Kupski
    • Department of Environmental MeteorologyUniversity of Kassel
  • Lutz Katzschner
    • Department of Environmental MeteorologyUniversity of Kassel
Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s00704-012-0774-z

Cite this article as:
Acero, J.A., Arrizabalaga, J., Kupski, S. et al. Theor Appl Climatol (2013) 113: 137. doi:10.1007/s00704-012-0774-z


This work examines the characteristics of the urban heat island (UHI) in a medium-sized city in northern Spain (Bilbao) using 5-year climate data (2005–2009) and the results of three specific measurement campaigns (2009–2010). Urban climate variables are not only compared with those in rural sites but also local climatic differences occurring inside the city are analysed. The findings presented in this paper show the influence of complex topography and sea/land breeze in the urban climate. Spatial characteristics and temporal evolution of UHI is presented. Hourly maximum temperature anomaly (ΔTu–r, max) occurs just after sunrise and an urban cold island (UCI) is developed after midday. Along the year, mean UHI intensity is highest in autumn and the UCI effect increases in spring and summer in relation with sea breeze cooling potential. Diurnal and seasonal variation of air flow patterns appear to influence significantly on UHI intensity.

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© Springer-Verlag Wien 2012