Predicting the limits of the oasis effect as a cooling phenomenon in hot deserts

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Associate Professor, department of architecture, University of Tebessa, Algeria

2 Assistant Professor, Effat University, Saudi Arabia (On Leave: Zagazig Uni. Egypt)


The water, a built environment, and a palm grove are an impressive trilogy making up the formidable oasis, rendering it strong enough to survive the harsh desert climate. Furthermore, the interaction between them creates several natural and physical phenomena. This research discusses the oasis effect, one of the most significant phenomena in the oasis ecosystem; this effect has been treated as a cooling phenomenon in theories and mathematical models. Therefore, we aimed to examine the impact and limits of this phenomenon in regard to the microclimate of oases through digital simulation, using the SPUCAL_oec software (Simulation Platform of Urban Climate in Arid Lands _ Oases Effect Calculator).  Based on an innovative mathematical model, we developed SPUCAL_oec as an innovative vision for this green phenomenon, programmed to predict, calculate, and simulate the behavior and limits of the palm grove on the oasis microclimate. Finally, the results of SPUCAL_oec model showed that the oasis effect impacted the oasis microclimate owing to the existence of the palm grove. This effect could be as large as 6°C of temperature decrease and 12% increase in relative humidity. Furthermore, the SPUCAL software can aid designers and planners in making decisions regarding their design process.


Ahriz, A., 2003. Bioclimatic Relations between the palmgrove and teh builtspace in hot desert oases. MPhil, university of biskra.
Ahriz, A., 2017. SPUCAL (Simulation Platform of Urban Climate in Arid Lands). Copyright Registration Number : 48XS2HC, Paris, FRANCE.
Ahriz, A., 2018. vegetation as a climatic component or urban design in arid lands. PhD, Biskra, Algeria.
Aheiz, A., Z. Noureddine, F. Soufiane, 2017. Ksour of the SAHARA Desert as A Great Lesson of Sustainable Urban Design in Hot Desert Oases. International Journal of Advances in Scientific Research and Engineering (IJASRE), 03, 109-118.
Brown, R. D., J. Vanos, N. Kenny, S. Lenzholzer, 2015. Designing urban parks that ameliorate the effects of climate change. Landscape and Urban Planning, 138, 118-131.
De Abreu-Harbich, L. V., L. C. Labaki, A. Matzarakis, 2015. Effect of tree planting design and tree species on human thermal comfort in the tropics. Landscape and Urban Planning, 138, 99-109.
Dupont, S., T. L. Otte, J. K. S. Ching, 2004. Simulation of Meteorological Fields Within and Above Urban and Rural Canopies with a Mesoscale Model. Boundary- Layer Meteorology, 113, 111-158.
Encarta, M., 2009 désert. [DVD] ed.: Microsoft Corporation.
FAO. 2016. CROP WATER NEEDS [Online]. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Available: [Accessed 19 January 2017].
Fortuniak, K., B. Offerrle, S. Grimmond, 2003. Slab surface energy balance scheme and its application to parameterisation of the energy fluxes on urban areas Fifth International Conference on Urban Climate. Lodz, Poland: IAUC.
Givoni, B., 1991. Impact of planted areas on urban environmental quality: A review. Atmospheric Environment, 25.B, 288-299.
Grimmond, C. S. B., M. Blackett, B. M. J. Best, J.-J. Baik, J.-J., S. E., Belcher, J. Beringer, S. I. Bohnenstengel, I. Calmet, F. Chen, A. Coutts, A. Dandou, K. Fortuniak, M. L. Gouvea, R. Hamdi, M. Hendry, M. Kanda, T. Kawai, Y. Kawamoto, H. Kondo, E. S. Krayenhoff, S.- H. Lee, T. Loridan, A. Martilli, V. Masson, S. Miao, K. Oleson, R. Ooka, G. Pigeon, A. Porson, Y.-H. RYU, F. Salamanca, G. J. Steeneveld, M. Tombrou, J. A. Voogt, D. T. Young, A. N. Zhang, L. V. Abreu- Harbich, 2011. Initial results from Phase 2 of the international urban energy balance model comparison. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF CLIMATOLOGY, 31, 244–272.
Grimmond, C. S. B., T. R. Oke, 2002. Turbulent Heat Fluxes in Urban Areas: Observations and a Local- Scale Urban Meteorological Parameterization Scheme (LUMPS). Journal of Applied Meteorology, 41, 792- 810.
Gritzner, J. A., 2016. Sahara [Online]. Encyclopædia Britannica. Available: [Accessed 19 January 2017].
Guyot, G., 1997. Climatologie de l’Environnement, Paris, FRANCE, Masson.
Krayenhoff, E. S., 2014. A multi-layer urban canopy model for neighbourhoods with trees. Phd, The University Of British Columbia.
Krayenhoff, E. S., A. Christen, A. Martilli, T. R. Oke, 2015. A multi-layer urban canopy model for neighbourhoods with trees. In: IAUC (ed.) ICUC9 - 9th International Conference on Urban Climate jointly with 12th Symposium on the Urban Environment Toulouse, France.
LAROUSSE. 2016. Désert [Online]. Available: [Accessed 19 January 2017].
Lee, S.-H., S.-U. Park, 2008. A Vegetated Urban Canopy Model for Meteorological and Environmental Modelling. Boundary-Layer Meteorology, 126, 73- 102.
Lehmann, I., J. Mathey, S. RÖßLER, A. BRÄUER, V. Goldbergb, 2014. Urban vegetation structure types as a methodological approach fo ridentifying ecosystem services – Application to the analysis of micro- climatic effects. Ecological Indicators, 42, 58-72.
Lei, Z., L. Aifeng, 2016. Investigating natural drivers of vegetation coverage variation using MODIS imagery in Qinghai, China Journal of Arid Land, 8(1), 109-124.
Lemonsu, A., V. Masson, L. Shashua-Bar, E. Erell, D. Pearlmutter, 2012. Inclusion of vegetation in the Town Energy Balance model for modelling urban green areas. Geosci. Model Dev., 5, 1377-1393.
Masson, V., 2000. A Physically-Based Scheme For The Urban Energy Budget In Atmospheric Models. Boundary-Layer Meteorology, 94, 357-397.
Mei, Y. X. E., L. Shizeng, Y. Taibao, X. Xianying, K. Caizhou, T. Jinnian, W. Huaidong, M.G. Ghebrezgabher, L. Zhiqi, 2016. Spatial-temporal dynamics ofdesert vegetation and its responses to climatic variations over the last three decades: a case study of Hexi region in Northwest China. Journal of Arid Land, 8(4), 556–568.
Mlih, R., R. Bol, W. Amelung, N. Brahim, 2016. Soil organic matter amendments in date palm groves of the Middle Eastern and North African region: a mini- review Journal of Arid Land, 8(1), 77-92.
Mojamed, M., 2013. An approach to integrate the environmental impact assessment process in the early
Ahriz et al. / Desert 24-2 (2019) 255-266
stages of design. The First International Engineering Conference Hosting Major International Events Innovation, Creativity and Impact Assessment. Housing & Building National Research Center, Cairo, Egypt: HBRC
Mohamed, M., 2014. Lessons from the Past to Enhance the Environmental Performance of Primary School Classrooms in Egypt. Environment and Ecology Research, 2, 221-233.
Mohamed, M., T. Gado, 2006. Application of computer based environmental assessment and optimization tools: An approach for appropriating buildings. 3rd international conference ArchCairo 2006, Appropriating Architecture taming Urbanism in the decades of transformation. Cairo.
Mohamed, M., T. Gado, S. Unwin, 2005. The environmental performance of classrooms in Egypt: a case study from El-Minya governorate. In: EGBU, P. C. O. & TONG, M. K. L. (eds.) The Second Scottish Conference for Postgraduate Researchers of the Built & Natural Environment (PRoBE 2005). Glasgow Glasgow Caledonian University.
Noumi, Z., 2015. Effects of exotic and endogenous shrubs on understory vegetation and soil nutrients in the south of Tunisia. journal of Arid Land, 7(4), 481–487.
Oke, T. R., 1987. Boundary Layer Climates, Routledge, Great Britain.
Otto, H. J., 2000. Ecologie Forestière, Dijon, FRANCE, Imp Darantiere.
Picot, X., 2004. Thermal comfort in urban spaces: impact of vegetation growth Case study: Piazza della Scienza, Milan, Italy. Energy and Buildings, 36, 329-334.
PNNL. 2016. Potential Evapotranspiration [Online]. USA: Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. Available: [Accessed 19 January 2017].
Potchter, O., D. Goldman, D. Iluz, D. Kadish, 2012. The climatic effect of a manmade oasis during winter season in a hyper arid zone: The case of Southern Israel. Journal of Arid Environments, 87, 231-242.
Potchter, O., D. Goldman, D. Kadish, D. Iluz, 2008. The oasis effect in an extremely hot and arid climate: The case of southern Israel. Journal of Arid Environments, 72, 1721-1733.
Shahidan, M. F., P. John, 2008. Plant canopy design in modifying urban thermal environment: theory and guidlines. In: PLEA (ed.) The 25th conference on passive an low energy architecture. dublin.
Shashua-Bar, L., M. E. Hoffman, 2002. The Green CTTC model for predicting the air temperature in small urban wooded sites. Building and Environment, 37, 1279- 1288.
Shashua-Bar, L., O. Potchter, A. Bitan, D. Boltansky, Y. Yaakov, 2010. Microclimate modelling of street tree species effects within the varied urban morphology in the Mediterranean city of Tel Aviv, Israel. international journal of climatology, 30, 44-57.
Toutain, G., 1979. Eléments d'agronomies Saharienne, de la recherche au dévelopement, Paris, FRANCE, INRA.
Von Willert, D. J., 1992. Life Strategies of Succulents in Deserts: With Special Reference to the Namib Desert, Cambridge University Press.
Zhang, Z.-S., L.-C. Liu, X.-R. Li, J.-G. Zhang, M.-Z. He, H.-J. TAN, 2008. Evaporation properties of a revegetated area of the Tengger Desert, North China. Journal of Arid Environments, 72, 964-973