Green spaces, trees and bodies of water are must-have design features for future development in Sydney's suburbs after researchers found that by 2050 global warming combined with Sydney's urban heat island effect could increase temperatures by up to 3.7C.
The researchers from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science found new urban developments, such as the multitude of new estates on Sydney edges expected to house more than 100,000 residents, were prone to the greatest temperature increases.
"Interestingly, we found that overnight temperatures increased far more than temperatures during the day," said lead author from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science Dr Daniel Argueso.
"This has implications for health problems related to heat stress accumulation and at an economic level where the higher energy consumption needed to power air conditioning overnight may lead to higher power bills."
The urban heat island effect occurs because urban structures can store more heat than open ground. This accumulated heat is released during the night, which is why nighttime temperatures increase even more than daytime temperatures.
At the same time urban surfaces hinder evaporation and its cooling effect, adding another layer to the heating of urban areas.
New areas on the fringes of Sydney could see temperatures rise between 1.1-3.7C, while the rural areas near these new suburbs could see increases of 0.8-2.6C. Existing urban areas closer to the CBD will see likely rises of 1.1-2.5C.
Changes to planning guidelines could ease the heat impact, said Dr Paul Osmond from the University of New South Wales Built Environment.
"Current research shows that along with other strategies green spaces, street trees and bodies of water can have a marked effect on reducing urban heat island effect," said Dr Osmond.
"Not only do these help keep suburbs cooler, there is also a knock-
|Contact: Alvin Stone|
University of New South Wales