Boundary Layer and Mesoscale Meteorology, Illinois State Water Survey

Climate and Atmospheric Science

Boone, Cook, Dekabl, Dupage, Grundy, Kane, Kankakee, Kendall, Lake, McHenry, Will, and Winnebago counties

Urban influences on mesoscale systems

David Kristovich

A large percentage of the world’s population lives in urban areas and, in turn, many large cities are located along water bodies. Sea-breezes and lake-breezes from these water bodies can play important roles on the urban temperatures, humidity, rainfall, and other climatic variables. Even small changes in the strength and movement of these breezes can have impacts on large numbers of people living and working in urban areas. Keeler (2010, MS Thesis, Dept. Atmospheric Sciences, University of Illinois) studied the influence of the Chicago heat island on lake-breeze movement through the urban area. This study compared the lake breeze speed of movement through both the urban center and more rural areas to the north and east of Chicago. One important finding is that the movement of lake breezes is quite variable and sensitive to environmental conditions in the region. Interestingly, the intensity of the nocturnal heat island appeared to have the most impact on lake breeze movement the next day.

Time series of lake breeze
Time series of lake breeze front positions based
WSR-88D radar observations in the Chicago, IL, area.
Modified from Keeler (2010, MS Thesis,
Dept. Atmospheric Sciences, University of Illinois).

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