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Influence of trees on the urban heat island in Guangzhou, China

Research Scholar

Senlin Zheng, research assistant, South China University of Technology (China)
Jean-Michel Guldmann, faculty mentor


  • Hometown: Chengdu, China
  • Degrees received: Master of Science in architecture, South China University of Technology, China.

What is the issue or problem addresses in your research?

Mitigating the urban heat island (UHI), a result of the replacement of vegetation by built-up impervious surfaces, is important to achieve energy conservation and pollution and heat stress reduction. A rational layout of vegetation may be effective to ease the UHI. Urban trees have attracted a lot of recent research to measure and evaluate how they can improve the microclimatic performance of the built environment. However, tree morphology and characteristics vary significantly.

What methodology did you use in your research?

To obtain microclimatic characteristics and data on the influence of common subtropical tree species on the outdoor thermal environment, this study investigates, with field measurements, three physiological indices (leaf transpiration rate, leaf surface temperature, and leaf reflectance) and seven microclimatic parameters (solar radiation, long wave radiation, mean radiant temperature, ground surface temperature, air temperature, relative humidity and wind speed) characterizing four common trees.

What are the purpose/rationale and implications of your research?

The results show the hourly variations of the various parameters in shaded and non-shaded areas, and indicate the corresponding attenuations in solar and long wave radiations, ground, air, mean radiant, and leaf surface temperatures, relative humidity, and wind speed, produced by these trees. This information can then be used for tree planting and for urban planning and design towards better outdoor thermal comfort and reduced energy budgets.