Improving Outdoor Thermal Comfort in a Steppe Climate: Effect of Water and Trees in an Urban Park
Published in: Land 2022, 11(3), 431
Excess heat in urban environments is an increasing threat to human health and well-being. Furthermore, the increasingly important phenomenon of the Urban Heat Island (UHI) is exacerbating problems of livability in urban centers. Hence, there should be an increasing effort to assess the impact of heat mitigation strategies (HMSs) on outdoor thermal comfort in cities. This research has investigated how urban areas in steppe climate zones can be more thermally comfortable due to the effects of water bodies and trees, and how this might help to mitigate heat waves. Numerical simulations using the ENVI-met microclimate model have been performed for an urban park in Tabriz, Iran. In-situ measurements of air temperature (Ta) and mean radiant temperature (MRT) have been carried out in the study site and the collected data was used to validate the model (RMSE value 0.98 °C for Ta and 5.85 °C for MRT). Results show that water body evaporation without trees may decrease the air temperature, but on the other hand also increases the humidity, which reduces the positive impact on thermal comfort. However, the combination of water body with trees represents a better performance in the regulation of urban microclimate and thermal comfort.