Uchimizu: A Cool(ing) Tradition to Locally Decrease Air Temperature

Anna Solcerova, Tim van Emmerik, Koen Hilgersom, Frans van de Ven, Nick van de Giesen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
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The urban heat island effect was first described 200 years ago, but the development of ways to mitigate heat in urban areas reaches much further into the past. Uchimizu is a 17th century Japanese tradition, in which water is sprinkled around houses to cool the ground surface and air by evaporation. Unfortunately, the number of published studies that have quantified the cooling effects of uchimizu are limited and only use surface temperature or air temperature at a single height as a measure of the cooling effect. In this research, a dense three-dimensional Distributed Temperature Sensing (DTS) setup was used to measure air temperature with high spatial and temporal resolution within one cubic meter of air above an urban surface. Six experiments were performed to systematically study the effects of (1) the amount of applied water; (2) the initial surface temperature; and (3) shading on the cooling effect of uchimizu. The measurements showed a decrease in air temperature of up to 1.5 ◦C at a height of 2 m, and up to 6 ◦C for near-ground temperature. The strongest cooling was measured in the shade experiment. For water applied in quantities of 1 mm and 2 mm, there was no clear difference in cooling effect, but after application of a large amount of water (>5 mm), the strong near-ground cooling effect was approximately twice as high as when only 1 mm of water was applied. The dense measurement grid used in this research also enabled us to detect the rising turbulent eddies created by the heated surface.
Original languageEnglish
Article number741
Number of pages18
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 6 Jun 2018


  • meteorology
  • urban heat island
  • urban climate
  • experimental hydrology
  • DTS
  • evaporative cooling
  • energy balance
  • OA-Fund TU Delft

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