Journal: Environmental Modelling and Assessment, 2023
Fine-resolution spatio-temporal maps of near-surface urban air temperature (Ta) provide crucial data inputs for sustainable urban decision-making, personal heat exposure, and climate-relevant epidemiological studies. The recent availability of IoT weather station data allows for high-resolution urban Ta mapping using approaches such as interpolation techniques or machine learning (ML). This study is aimed at executing these approaches and traditional numerical modeling within a practical and operational framework and evaluate their practicality and efficiency in cases where data availability, computational constraints, or specialized expertise pose challenges. We employ Netatmo crowd-sourced weather station data and three geospatial mapping approaches: (1) Ordinary Kriging, (2) statistical ML model (using predictors primarily derived from Earth Observation Data), and (3) weather research and forecasting model (WRF) to predict/map daily Ta at nearly 1-km spatial resolution in Warsaw (Poland) for June–September and compare the predictions against observations from 5 meteorological reference stations. The results reveal that ML can serve as a viable alternative approach to traditional kriging and numerical simulation, characterized by reduced complexity and higher computational speeds within the domain of urban meteorological studies (overall RMSE = 1.06 °C and R2 = 0.94, compared to ground-based meteorological stations). The results have implications for identifying the urban regions vulnerable to overheating and evidence-based urban management in response to climate change. Due to the open-sourced nature of the applied predictors and input parsimony, the ML method can be easily replicated for other EU cities.