Theoretical and Applied Climatology

, Volume 84, Issue 1–3, pp 179–190 | Cite as

Towards better scientific communication in urban climate

  • T. R. Oke


Better communication both within the field of urban climate and between urban climate and cognate fields is necessary to both bind the subject internally and to more effectively move it into interdisciplinary interaction. A brief statement of the wide diversity of the field and its several modes of study and application leads to the view that it would be beneficial to consider adopting aids to increase dialogue. This includes standardization of symbols, terminology and indices, classification of phenomena, a protocol to generalize site description, adoption of principles of experimental design and the use of dimensional analysis and normalization to aid the transferability of results.

The focus of this paper is how to facilitate scientific interaction between participants within the field of urban climate, including both those who study its mechanisms and effects and those who apply such knowledge to the improvement of human settlements. As a by-product it may also assist communication between urban climatologists and workers in cognate fields as well as those we wish to entrain in the fields of policy development and environmental management. Section 1 explains the nature of the urban climate field and its practitioners, especially the diversity of scholarly disciplines, the range of topics studied and the motivations for doing so. Section 2 describes the sequence of investigative modes associated with achieving coherent understanding and intelligent application of urban climate. Section 3 attempts to outline some essential elements which might promote discourse between these modes such as the use of a common set of symbols and terminology and ways of expressing results so as to standardize variables and thereby assist comparison and transferability of results.


Climate Change Waste Water Water Pollution Environmental Management Scientific Communication 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Aguilar E, Auer I, Brunet M, Peterson TC, Wieringa J (2003) Guidelines on climate metadata and homogenization, WCDMO-No. 53, WMO-TD No. 1186, Geneva: World Meteorol OrganizGoogle Scholar
  2. Arnfield, AJ 2003Two decades of urban climate research: A review of turbulence, exchanges of energy and water and the urban heat island.Int J Climatol23126CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Best, MJ 2006Progress towards better weather forecasts for city dwellers: from short range to climate change.Theor Appl Climatol844755Google Scholar
  4. Davenport AG, Grimmond CSB, Oke TR, Wieringa J (2000) Estimating the roughness of cities and sheltered country, Preprints Conference on Applied Climatology, Asheville, Amer Meteorol Soc, Boston, 96–99Google Scholar
  5. Ellefsen, R 1990/91Mapping and measuring buildings in the urban canopy boundary layer in ten US cities.Energy and Buildings15–1610251049Google Scholar
  6. Fortuniak, K, Kłysik, K, Wibig, J 2006Urban-rural contrasts of meteorological parameters in Łódź.Theor Appl Climatol8491101Google Scholar
  7. Grimmond, CSB 2006Progress in measuring and observing the urban atmosphere.Theor Appl Climatol84322Google Scholar
  8. Högström, U, Bergström, H, Alexandersson, H 1982Turbulence characteristics in a near-neutrally stratified urban atmosphere.Bound-Layer Meteor23449472CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Jauregui E (2000) Tropical urban climatology at the turn of the millenium. In: deDear RJ, Kalma JD, Oke TR, Auliciems A (eds) Biometeorology and urban climatology at the turn of the millenium. Geneva: World Meteorol Organiz, pp 537–540Google Scholar
  10. Kanda, M 2006Progress in the scale modeling of urban climate: Review.Theor Appl Climatol842333Google Scholar
  11. Kłysik K, Oke TR, Fortuniak K, Grimmond CSB, Wibig J (eds) (2004) Proceedings Fifth International Conference on Urban Climate, Vols. 1 & 2. Łódź: Univ Łódź, Int Assoc Urban Climate and World Meteorol OrganizGoogle Scholar
  12. Kratzer A (1937) Das Stadtklima. Braunschweig: Friedr ViewegGoogle Scholar
  13. Landsberg HE (1981) The urban climate. New York: Academic PressGoogle Scholar
  14. Lowry, WP 1977Empirical estimation of urban effects on climate: a problem analysis.J Appl Meteor16129135CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Lowry, WP 1998Urban effects on precipitation amount.Progress Phys Geog22477520Google Scholar
  16. Masson, V 2006Urban surface modeling and the meso-scale impact of cities.Theor Appl Climatol843545Google Scholar
  17. Mills, G 2006Progress toward sustainable settlements: a role for urban climatology.Theor Appl Climatol846976Google Scholar
  18. Munn, RE 1972Urban meteorology: some selected topics.Bull Amer Meteor Soc549093Google Scholar
  19. Oke, TR 1984Towards a prescription for the greater use of climatic principles in settlement planning.Energy and Buildings7110CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Oke TR (1995) The heat island of the urban boundary layer: characteristics, causes and effects. In: Cermak JE, Davenport AG, Plate EJ, Viegas DX (eds) Wind climate in cities. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers, pp 81–107Google Scholar
  21. Oke TR (1997) Surface climate processes. In: Bailey WG, Oke TR, Rouse WR (eds) Surface climates of Canada. Montréal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, pp 21–43Google Scholar
  22. Oke TR (1998) An algorithmic scheme to estimate hourly heat island magnitude, 2nd Symp Urban Environ, Albuquerque, NM, Amer Meteorol Soc, pp 80–83Google Scholar
  23. Oke TR (2004) Initial guidance to obtain representative meteorological observations at urban sites. IOM Report No. 81, WMO/TD No. 1250, Geneva: World Meteorol Organiz
  24. Pigeon G, Augustin C, Legain D, Durand P, Masson V (2004) Characteristics of the urban thermodynamic island and the energy balance on Toulouse (France) during winter and spring periods of the CAPITOUL experiment. 5th Symp Urban Environ, Vancouver, BC: Amer Meteorol SocGoogle Scholar
  25. Rotach, MW 1993Turbulence close to a rough urban surface. Part II: variances and gradients.Bound-Layer Meteor667592CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Roth, MR 2000Review of atmospheric turbulence over cities.Quart J Roy Meteor Soc126941990CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Runnalls, KE, Oke, TR 1998Dynamics and controls of the near-surface heat island of Vancouver, B.C.Phys Geogr21283304Google Scholar
  28. Szymanowski M (2005) Interactions between thermal advection in frontal zones and the urban heat island of Wrocław, Poland. Theor Appl Climatol (in press)Google Scholar
  29. Voogt, JA, Oke, TR 1997Complete urban surface temperatures.J Appl Meteor3611171132CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Wanner, H, Filliger, P 1989Orographical influence on urban climate.Weather and Climate92228Google Scholar
  31. Yoshino MM (1975) Climate in a small area. Univ Tokyo Press, TokyoGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag/Wien 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • T. R. Oke
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of GeographyUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada

Personalised recommendations