Urban green spaces and variation in cooling in the humid tropics: The case of Paramaribo

Lisa Best*, N. Schwarz, Davita Obergh, A.J. Teuling, Rudi van Kanten, L. Willemen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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The urban climate affects more than half the world’s population, and urban green spaces are considered a nature-based solution to alleviate the urban heat island effect and adapt cities to climate change. Knowledge on urban green spaces cooling draws mostly on data from temperate climates, and similar research in humid tropical climates often focuses on the dry season. This study presents year-round temperature and humidity data for sixteen stationary sensors in Paramaribo, the capital of Suriname, and remotely sensed land surface temperatures for these locations. Analysis was done of diurnal and seasonal dynamics, the extent of urban green space cooling and the relation between locational characteristics and the micro-climate. Results show cooling up to 2.5 ºC with distinct seasonal patterns, and that locations exhibiting stronger cooling during the day have smaller temperature ranges of about 4 ºC at night compared to ranges of 5–7 ºC at other locations. Locations with more trees and complex vegetation structure have temperatures that are 1–5 ºC lower than other locations, but this cooling decreases when the ratio with impervious surfaces increases. Land surface temperature differences between more vegetated and built-up areas reach up to 2.5 ºC. High correlations found among micro-climate indicators imply easier comparison between studies when using any of these indicators, even if not the same ones. The longer term data collected in our study enables investigating urban green space cooling taking into account seasonality typical to the humid-tropics and finds that this cooling can help cities in the Caribbean region adapt to temperature extremes, despite high humidity. Our study further provides an example for overcoming data scarcity and contributes to developing strategies for mitigating increasing heat-related health risks in the humid tropics.
Original languageEnglish
Article number128111
Number of pages25
JournalUrban Forestry and Urban Greening
Early online date6 Oct 2023
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2023




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