Urban Heat Island Modelling


Dear All,

Is anyone aware of the pros and cons of various tools to model the Urban Heat Island for a city? To build on the discussions in the Old Forum (Heat Island Effect), I am looking for a computer model-able phenomenon resulting primarily from urban canyon geometry, building materials, and (to a lesser degree) anthropogenic heat, the below is what I am aware of:

  • There is the LondUM model that was used for the Triple Jeopardy Mapping (UCL/ESPRC)
  • There is Reading’s UMEP Model (open-source)
  • There is Envi-Met (paid)
  • There is VITO’s UrbClim Modelling (Not freely available)

Any feedback appreciated.



EDIT: I just noticed you’d already asked about Dragonfly specifically here so you’ve already been introduced to Dragonfly and UWG. My bad sorry. Don’t let my post distract from the wider topic of UHI modelling!

Hi @snigdha.jain,

I have not tested any of the tools you mentioned above however as you are on the Ladybug Tools forum I feel it’s relevant to mention the Dragonfly plugin which uses the UWG engine to run UHI simulations. I am going to link in @SaeranVasanthakumar into this conversation also as he worked quite a bit on converting UWG from Matlab to Python code.

If you want to use Grasshopper to do this you can try this example by @chris.

If you don’t have access to rhino or grasshopper you could always try to follow this example by yours truly but bear in mind this workflow is not yet perfect so might to cover geometry parameters as precisely as you would like.


I’ve only worked with Envi-Met (via the LB component) out of all these components so I’ll let the UHI experts weigh in on the tool comparison. But it’s worth saying that one of the big trade-off between these more detailed, spatial microclimatic modeling tools, and UWG, is speed. UWG is built to very quickly give you a coarse idea of the UHI based on a series of heat balances (representative building zone, canyon, UBL). So while you lose a lot of the granularity of the other tools, you will be able to perform a broader set of sensitivity/uncertainty studies simply because you can run more simulations with it.



Exactly what I’m planning to do next month, run a few thousands of 500x500m urban blocks through DF and UWG :slight_smile: