Class Year


Document Type

Student Research Paper

Date of Creation

Spring 2017

Department 1

Environmental Studies


Cities experience UHIs due to the thermal properties (albedo, thermal emittance, radiative flux, and heat capacity) of human-made substances and urban geometry. This study investigated the existence of an urban heat island (UHI) in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. The goal of this project was to assess whether a small-scale city like Gettysburg demonstrates an UHI effect and, if present, the extent and magnitude of the UHI. We hypothesized that (1) temperatures within the city are significantly higher than the surrounding area, (2) the magnitude of the UHI will diminish as distance from the city center increases, and (3) the UHI will not extend further than 0.5 miles outside the city center. Air temperatures were collected using digital thermometers over four weeks along two different transects that each extended one mile from the center square of Gettysburg. Our results show that Gettysburg, despite its small size, has an UHI. A linear regression model shows that there is a strong correlation between temperature and distance from the center square. The magnitude of the UHI lessens with increasing distance from the center of town. The first two hypotheses were supported while the hypothesis that the UHI will be localized was not. Statistically analyses show that the temperature change remains significant past 0.5 miles. The results of this study demonstrate that even a small-scale city like Gettysburg create a UHI.


Written as an Environmental Studies Senior Capstone.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 License.