Thermal Comfort Level Assessment in Urban Area of Petrolina-PE County, Brazil

<div><p>Abstract This study evaluated the thermal conditions of urban areas in Petrolina-PE, from continuous data collected in urban and rural areas for the year of 2012. The results characterized urban heat islands (UHI) with varying intensity in urban areas, especially UHI = 5.3 °C (high intensity) occurred on April 28, 2012. It was evident that the constituent elements of urban areas contribute to the formation and expansion of UHI bringing thermal discomfort for its inhabitants. An adaptation to Thom’s equation for calculating the Thermal Discomfort Index (DIT), was used to obtain the maximum (DITx) and minimum (DITm) thermal discomfort. In the urban area, the DITm indicated thermal comfort in 23.0% of the days and partial comfort in 77.0% of days surveyed. Already, the DITx characterized 71.6% of days with partial comfort and 28.4% of days with thermal discomfort. In the rural area, The DITm indicated that 41.5% of days were thermally comfortable and 58.5% of days had partial comfort. However, the DITx pointed 87.7% of the days of this environment with partial thermal comfort and 12.3% of thermally uncomfortable days. Finally, the results showed that afforestation of urban area constitutes to an effective and efficient way to mitigate thermal discomfort.</p></div>