heat islands and frost pockets in Bellingham, Wash.

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  • 1 Department of Biology, Western Washington State College, Bellingham, Wash.
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Three mid-winter thermal maps of Bellingham, Wash., are presented, two for clear-sky conditions and one for overcast conditions. Bellingham, a city of about 40,000 population, adjoins a large body of water and comprises a heterogeneous topographic and vegetation mosaic. The higher density section of the city is clearly warmer than the surrounding countryside, with a closed isotherm heat island associated with an area of tall buildings on a west-facing slope. In the eastern part of the city the combination of warmer zones on the sides of slopes and frost pockets at low points in a valley fits the model of Geiger for night-time valley temperature distribution. In addition, cold air drainage in one valley is blocked by a freeway embankment to intensify the frost pocket. The heterogeneous topography prevents large heat islands in Bellingham, but man-made structures markedly influence temperature distribution. Given proper planning of future domestic and industrial growth, Bellingham probably can avoid the creation of unfavorable thermal conditions.

Three mid-winter thermal maps of Bellingham, Wash., are presented, two for clear-sky conditions and one for overcast conditions. Bellingham, a city of about 40,000 population, adjoins a large body of water and comprises a heterogeneous topographic and vegetation mosaic. The higher density section of the city is clearly warmer than the surrounding countryside, with a closed isotherm heat island associated with an area of tall buildings on a west-facing slope. In the eastern part of the city the combination of warmer zones on the sides of slopes and frost pockets at low points in a valley fits the model of Geiger for night-time valley temperature distribution. In addition, cold air drainage in one valley is blocked by a freeway embankment to intensify the frost pocket. The heterogeneous topography prevents large heat islands in Bellingham, but man-made structures markedly influence temperature distribution. Given proper planning of future domestic and industrial growth, Bellingham probably can avoid the creation of unfavorable thermal conditions.

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