Islands in the Moscow Sun

The research study highlights the changes of Urban Heat Islands (UHI) and Urban Dry Islands (UDI) intensities over the city of Moscow, Russia during the period from the end of 19th century until past years. The major reason for this is the intense growth of the city throughout the past decades.

UHI can be described as an urban area that is warmer than surrounding rural areas due to human activities. UDI, in its turn, is an area with reduced atmospheric humidity and vapour pressure deficit also caused by urbanisation. The UDI is tightly connected to UHI, and both became much stronger than before.

The results have shown roughly a double increase in the maximum annual UHI intensity since the 19th century (from 1.08 °C to nearly 2.08 °C) (see Figure 1). The average UHI intensity was around 0,8 °C in the second half of the 20th century and nowadays fluctuates around 1.08 °C .

Figure 1. Changes in UHI Intensity means (1880-2010 yy.)

The UDI means have also changed: as humidity in Moscow decreased during the past years, mostly because of warming, the water vapour pressure increased (see Figure 2).

Figure 2. Changes in UDI Intensity means (1880-2010 yy.)

UHI and UDI increase, according to Lokoshchenko, is the result of new wave of an intensive city growth, especially the mass resettlement of inhabitants from the overpopulated city centre to new urban periphery since the 1960s.

Dr. M. A. Lokoshchenko is a leading scientific researcher and an associate professor at the department of meteorology and climatology, Moscow State University. His research expertise covers generally atmospheric physics and meteorology, including air quality, climate variability and precipitation.


Lokoshchenko, M. A. (2017). Urban heat island and urban dry island in Moscow and their centennial changes. Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology, 56(10), 2729-2745.

Original source:

Featured photo with thanks to Alexey Litvinov.

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