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1 January 2011 Wind Patterns and the Heat Island in Phoenix, Arizona: 1993–2008
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Urban effects on wind patterns will become increasingly important as cities and the world's urban population continue to grow. Previous research has shown urban areas themselves can affect wind patterns both through their aerodynamic and thermal properties. This article examines wind speed changes in Phoenix, Arizona, and their relationship to temperature. I hypothesized that urban wind speeds increased over the study period of 1993–2008 and that wind speeds in the surrounding areas are also increasing, perhaps as part of an urban-rural thermal circulation. Correlation coefficients were used to measure the association between wind speed and temperature as well as the temporal trend in each variable over the study period for 24 meteorological stations in and around Phoenix. Significant changes in temperature over the study period were found for all stations and these tended to vary by month. Wind speed was found to have increased over the study period for most stations for most month/hour combinations. There is a distinct spatial pattern in these correlations. Finally, a diurnal pattern was found in the temperature vs. wind speed correlation coefficients for all stations. The results of this study tend to indicate increasing winds as Phoenix and its heat island continue to grow.

Eric Kent "Wind Patterns and the Heat Island in Phoenix, Arizona: 1993–2008," Journal of the Arizona-Nevada Academy of Science 42(2), 92-103, (1 January 2011).
Published: 1 January 2011

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