Ursidae: The Undergraduate Research Journal at the University of Northern Colorado


Joshua Clark

Faculty Sponsor

Lucinda Shellito


The urban heat island (UHI) effect, a phenomenon where the urban area will be warmer than the rural surroundings, may adversely impact human health and energy consumption via heat waves and rolling blackouts. A quantitative assessment of the UHI in Louisville, Kentucky was conducted through climatological analysis of five observation stations over a 5-year period from 2009 –2013. Results indicate the presence of a large UHI extending beyond 40 km, with an average intensity of 4.84°C between the most rural station and the urban control. By analyzing the temperature differences between all stations based on time and meteorological conditions, it was found that the UHI is especially amplified during the nighttime hours of 2300-0700 LST and in the presence of weak winds (< 3.0 ms-1), little to no cloud cover, and no precipitation. This study indicated the necessity of more observing stations in this region, given the poor spatial resolution of the existing network.