Surveying topographical changes and climate variations to detect the urban heat island in the city of Málaga (Spain)

J.M. Senciales-González, J. Rodrigo-Comino, P. Smith


The main aim of this research was to detect a possible urban heat island (UHI) in the tourist city of Málaga (Spain). To achieve this goal, different methods to validate annual and monthly temperature data have been used, and the internal variability of the UHI with respect to the topographical changes was also surveyed. Our results showed two types of atmospheric thermal gradients: one characterized by a positive gradient according to an elevation above sea level, and another with a negative gradient related to rural areas. The maximum impact of the UHI was found to be 9.1 ºC for an instantaneous event, 4.4 ºC for daily minimum temperatures in August, with a maximum weighted average difference of 2.3 ºC between data from urban and rural stations. We conclude that the detection of UHI is useful as a tool to help urban planners, in order to reduce the intensity of possible climate changes in cities. It is also concluded that UHI is not only a meteorological phenomenon in Málaga city but a climatic phenomenon, present during most days and across the transect of increasing intensity from the sea to the city.


Climate observation; Urban development; Mitigation; Climate Policy; Urban Heat Islands

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