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Investigating the Impacts of Anthropogenic Heat on the Climate of Los Angeles

Presentation Date
Thursday, December 15, 2022 at 9:00am - Thursday, December 15, 2022 at 12:30pm
McCormick Place - Poster Hall, Hall - A



Anthropogenic heat (AH) is waste heat generated by human activities. Primary sources of AH include vehicles, buildings, industrial activities, and human metabolism. Previous studies show that AH can have significant effects on the urban heat island. With the compounded effects of climate change and the urban heat island expected to get worse around the world, it is now more important than ever to understand how our urban environments are heating up and to investigate effective methods of urban heat mitigation. In this study, we quantify the potential value of reducing AH for urban cooling in Los Angeles. To do this, we first develop a high-resolution (100 m x 100 m) hourly gridded dataset of AH flux for Los Angeles County using a hybrid GIS-top-down approach, which incorporates a variety of disparate energy-use and geospatial datasets that characterize AH from buildings, transportation, industrial activities, and human metabolism. Initial results suggest that AH flux can exceed 150 W m-2 in the most densely populated neighborhoods of Central Los Angeles. Assuming an air temperature sensitivity to AH of 1 °C/100 W/m2 from previous literature, we conservatively estimate that AH can increase local temperatures by more than 1 °C in certain areas of Los Angeles. The spatially and temporally varying impacts of AH on the local climate of Los Angeles will be further refined using the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model. Furthermore, we will explore future energy-use scenarios to model how the projected electrification of the building and transportation sectors in Los Angeles will alter the impact of AH in Los Angeles.

Funding Program Area(s)