The finding is only one of a raft of results from measurements carried out by Ghent University and the Flemish Technology and Innovation Institute, the VITO. The work was commissioned by the City of Ghent.
Last summer temperature and humidity sensors were used to record the temperature across the city and its rural hinterland. Models and infrared satellite images were used to complete the picture.
The results show that a heat island emerges in the city centre. The temperature difference is greatest after dusk. Each year the city centre enjoys eight nights more than the rural hinterland when the temperature does not fall below 18°C.
The higher temperature in the city centre is due to its built-up character and the many hard surfaces created by the use of asphalt, concrete and natural stone that collect more heat and hand it back to the environment more slowly.
City cabinet member for the environment, Tine Heyse, favours more green spaces, more water, more shade and fewer hard surfaces in order to prevent the creation of more heat islands.