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Keywords:

  • Building climatology;
  • Solar radiation;
  • Urban climatology;
  • Urban heat islands

ABSTRACT A model which attempts to simulate urban absorption of solar radiation is concerned with direct solar radiation, diffuse sky radiation, diffuse radiation reflected by buildings and streets, and the shortwave energy absorbed by typical urban structures. The ratio between solar radiation absorbed by three-dimensional building-street systems and two-dimensional horizontal surfaces under cloudless conditions indicates that cities undergo great variations with latitude and season. High structure systems absorb more than six times the radiation of nonurban plains. Shading effects can create absorptance less than that of a level surface. Observations at street level may lead to erroneous conclusions concerning the energy input for the total urban interface. The examination of a circular synthetic city with varying latitudinal radiation responses indicates that daytime urban heat islands are migratory phenomena and probably influence convective air circulation in the city, that downtown areas often absorb less energy than the periphery of the inner zone, and that the mere existence of a city is sufficient to generate daytime heat islands.