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Tourism Affects Urban Heat Island

Aug 19, 2015     Email"> PrintText Size

Tourism is a vital contributor to China's and global economies. In the past decades, the number of the tourists has undergone a rapid growth in China and the world. The tourist arrivals are expected to be more than 4.1 billion in the whole year of 2015. The climate has a great impact on the tourism, yet it remains unclear whether the tourism can affect urban climate.

Prof. ZHANG Jingyong and Dr. WU Lingyun from Institute of Atmospheric Physics of Chinese Academy of Sciences took Sanya city as an example to show that the tourism can significantly enhance the urban heat island (UHI) intensities during the Chinese New Year (CNY) holiday. The study has been recently published online in Science Bulletin.

The results show that during the CNY week, the UHI effects expressed as daily mean, maximum, and minimum temperature differences between urban and non-urban stations averaged over the period of 1995-2004 are 0.48°C (39%), 0.66°C (61%), and 0.42°C (26%) higher than during the background period (8weeks including four weeks before and four weeks after the CNY week), respectively. These changes are all significant at the 99% confidence level by Student’s t-test.

The increased number of tourists in the urban area of Sanya City leads to more human activities, which result in more anthropogenic heat emissions. This affects other processes which significantly increases the UHI effects during the CNY holiday. The results offer scientific support for urban design and planning, and management of popular cities for visitors.


Warm weather and beach attracted tourists to Sanya, Hainan Province during the Chinese New Year holiday in January 2013. (Photo from Chinanews.com, Credit: LUO Yunfei)  


(Editor: CHEN Na)


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