Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Science




Voogt, James A.


Micrometeorological variability within cities has important implications for urban air and water quality, building energy consumption, and human health and thermal comfort. However, the monitoring of microscale climate is not routinely conducted. In most instances, primary meteorological observations are made under reproducible standard conditions (typically at an airport); but these open field observations tend to be unrepresentative of the intra-urban meteorological conditions.

This thesis used an alternative approach of conducting mobile traverse measurements using vehicle-mounted sensors to characterize the microclimates of Toronto, ON under hot, summertime weather conditions. Sampling occurred along two routes and incorporated sampling 8 intra-urban neighbourhoods with contrasting surface properties. In addition, a rural reference and two areas identified by Toronto Public Health (TPH) as ‘high-risk’ in relation to human health were sampled – the Thorncliffe Park and Moss Park neighbourhoods. These observations were used to address the following:

1) What is the intra-urban meteorological variability observed by vehicle traverses under daytime and nighttime conditions?

2) Compared to the other neighbourhoods, do the Thorncliffe Park and Moss Park neighbourhoods exhibit microclimates associated with higher human thermal discomfort?

3) How does an urban-scale numerical model perform in predicting neighbourhood-scale microclimates?

The results presented in this thesis demonstrate significant microscale intra-urban variability from 9 daytime and 3 nighttime traverses. Numerical model outputs show relatively good agreement with vehicle traverse observations, where ΔTair (mod-obs) < -1.1 ºC and ΔTdew (mod-obs) < -1.7 ºC in 8 of 11 evaluated vehicle traverses. The application of these results can provide insight to where in Toronto public health is at highest risk and where heat mitigation strategies are most needed.