Theoretical and Applied Climatology

, Volume 113, Issue 1–2, pp 137–154 | Cite as

Urban heat island in a coastal urban area in northern Spain

  • Juan A. Acero
  • Jon Arrizabalaga
  • Sebastian Kupski
  • Lutz Katzschner
Original Paper


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.



The authors would like to acknowledge Dipl. German Fernandez for the help with the measuring devices and Dipl. Andres Simon, Dipl. Lexuri Yurrebaso, Dr. Karmele Herranz and Dr. Julia Hidalgo for the help during the measurement campaigns. Climatic data were provided by the Environmental Department and the Basque Meteorological Agency in the Basque Country (Spain). This work was partially funded by “K-Egokitzen” (2007–2011), a research project of the Department of Environment of the Basque Government through ETORTEK programme within the framework of the Basque Science, Technology and Innovation Plan 2010.1


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Wien 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Juan A. Acero
    • 1
  • Jon Arrizabalaga
    • 1
  • Sebastian Kupski
    • 2
  • Lutz Katzschner
    • 2
  1. 1.Energy and Environmental DivisionTECNALIADerioSpain
  2. 2.Department of Environmental MeteorologyUniversity of KasselKasselGermany

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