Classic Texts

These three texts are each classics in the field of urban climatology that establish its foundations and illustrate its development to the ‘modern’ era. Although they are well known and continue to be referenced, they are difficult to obtain for many. The IAUC has undertaken to republish such texts where permission is provided (or copyright has expired). The texts included thus far are:

Luke Howard (1833) The Climate of London. Volume 1

Luke Howard (1833) The Climate of London Volume 1. The first study of the urban effect on air temperature.

Although Luke Howard is best known for his work on clouds he was also the first to recognise the effect that urban areas have on local climate. Much of his studies on climate, including his description, analysis and observations, are contained in this book, which can reasonably claim to be the first textbook on climatology. The impact of London upon its climate is discovered by Howard when he compares his temperature records against those made by the Royal Society at Somerset House. He concludes that the temperature of the city is not to be considered as that of the climate; it partakes too much of an artificial warmth, induced by its structure, by a crowded population, and the consumption of great quantities of fuel in fires (p.2). His is the first analysis of two related, but distinct issues:

1) the urban ‘contamination’ of meteorological records and,
2) the magnitude and cause of the urban effect.

The 1st edition of CLIMATE was published in two volumes, the first of which appeared in 1818. The second, much expanded, edition was published in 1833 and comprised three volumes. (The latter edition is the basis of this publication.) The first volume is particularly significant as it contains Howard’s descriptions and analysis of meteorological elements (e.g. temperature, pressure, etc.) that make up climate. However, this work is only possible because of the wealth of data he and his family collected over a twenty-five year period, 1806 to 1830. These daily data are compiled in tabular form in the second and third volumes and are supplemented by his notes and other information gathered from a variety of sources.

In this edition, all the figures have been redrawn and the text reformatted. This text was republished by the IAUC and a high quality boxed version of the three volumes forms the LUKE HOWARD PRIZE.

Albert Kratzer “The Climate of Cities”

Albert Kratzer (1956) The Climate of Cities (Stadtklima). The English-language translation. Republished with the permission of the American Meteorological Society.

Albert Kratzer (1905-1975), a Benedict Monk from Bavaria, Germany, submitted his PhD thesis on urban climatology in 1937 at the Ludwig-Maximilians-University of Munich, Germany. This thesis formed the first edition of Das Stadtklima (The Climate of Cities), which provides an extensive review of urban climate studies at that time. The second edition of Das Stadtklima was published in 1956. In the foreword he expresses his wish for the book and the field of inquiry:

I would like to express the hope that the book will be received as well as its predecessor, in Europe and in the America as well. I also hope that it will fulfill its purpose everywhere and will prove not only a useful tool in the hands of city planners and builders but also a lucid and instructive work on their climate for all interested city-dwellers. May it also provide inducement to further studies and particularly to the monographs which have still to be written in the field.

The book remains a unique source of information and is representative of the German school of landscape climatology. As an illustration, Andreas Matzarakis (University of Freiburg) identifies Figure 51 in the book, which shows the local wind systems in the region of Freiburg. This is a topic that continues to be of scientific interest. Many of the issues raised in this discussion of local wind systems are still unresolved while others are only now amenable to study through technological and methodological advances.

The document published here is the English language translation of the 1956 edition, published by the American Meteorological Society (AMS) and is republished here with the permission of the AMS. It is hoped to republish the original German language publication once permission can be obtained. The version here is rather crude owing to the quality of printing. However, it is intended to republish a higher quality version in the near future.

Tony Chandler “The Climate of London”

Tony Chandler (1965) The Climate of London. This is a remarkable comprehensive study based on an intensive measurement campaign carried out in London. The work represents a high point of descriptive urban climatology. Republished with the permission of Random House.

This is a monumental work that took up the study of London’s climate where Howard’s left off. Chandler established an urban network of stations that was supplemented by observations made via mobile traverses. Together these comprised the London Climatological Survey that, at the time, represented the most spatially intensive climatological study of its kind. The Survey had two elements: ‘The first element of this involved a mobile recording station, housed first in a second-hand car, later in a new Land Rover, that Chandler drove along traverses through London monitoring temperature and humidity at various hours of the day and night. The second element involved more than 60 schools, teacher training colleges and private individuals maintaining climatological recording stations. The Survey soon attracted the attention of academics and town planners around the world. London’s ‘heat island’ and pattern of air pollution, which Chandler delineated, were discussed widely in the media. In 1964 he submitted his doctoral thesis, ‘Studies of the climate of London’, from which The Climate of London (1965) soon emerged.’ (Source: Clout HD and Atkinson BW 2009: Obituary. The Geographical Journal, Vol. 175 p82–83 doi: 10.1111/j.1475-4959.2008.00311.x)

In his concluding paragraph, Chandler summarised his work and its motivation: Londoners live in a profoundly man-made climate. A few of the changes wrought by the widespread substitution of houses and factories for fields and woods, and surfaced roads for cart-tracks, might be considered favourable. Such are the higher autumn, winter and spring night-time temperatures must reduce heating costs and lengthen the frost-free period, but these advantages must be outweighed by increased pollution and decreased sunshine. It is to be hoped that enlightened planning might do something in future years to reduce further unconscious deterioration of London’s urban climate.

The version here has been republished with permission from Random House


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