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Urban effects on regional climate: a case study in the Phoenix and Tucson ‘sun’ corridor

December 1, 2015

Land use and land cover change (LULCC) due to urban expansion alter the surface albedo, heat capacity, and thermal conductivity of the surface. Consequently, the energy balance in urban regions is different from that of natural surfaces. To evaluate the changes in regional climate that could arise due to projected urbanization in the Phoenix-Tucson corridor, Arizona, we applied the coupled WRF-NOAH-UCM (which includes a detailed urban radiation scheme) to this region. Land cover changes were represented using land cover data for 2005 and projections to 2050, and historical North American Regional Reanalysis (NARR) data were used to specify the lateral boundary conditions. Results suggest that temperature changes will be well defined, reflecting the urban heat island (UHI) effect within areas experiencing LULCC. Changes in precipitation are less robust, but seem to indicate reductions in precipitation over the mountainous regions northeast of Phoenix and decreased evening precipitation over the newly-urbanized area.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2016
Title Urban effects on regional climate: a case study in the Phoenix and Tucson ‘sun’ corridor
DOI 10.1175/EI-D-15-0027.1
Authors Zhao Yang, Francina Dominguez, Hoshin Gupta, Xubin Zeng, Laura M. Norman
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Earth Interactions
Index ID 70159867
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Western Geographic Science Center

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