, Volume 42, Issue 7-8, pp 2183-2199
Date: 05 May 2013

Temperature response to future urbanization and climate change

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This study examines the impact of future urban expansion on local near-surface temperature for Sydney (Australia) using a future climate scenario (A2). The Weather Research and Forecasting model was used to simulate the present (1990–2009) and future (2040–2059) climates of the region at 2-km spatial resolution. The standard land use of the model was replaced with a more accurate dataset that covers the Sydney area. The future simulation incorporates the projected changes in the urban area of Sydney to account for the expected urban expansion. A comparison between areas with projected land use changes and their surroundings was conducted to evaluate how urbanization and global warming will act together and to ascertain their combined effect on the local climate. The analysis of the temperature changes revealed that future urbanization will strongly affect minimum temperature, whereas little impact was detected for maximum temperature. The minimum temperature changes will be noticeable throughout the year. However, during winter and spring these differences will be particularly large and the increases could be double the increase due to global warming alone at 2050. Results indicated that the changes were mostly due to increased heat capacity of urban structures and reduced evaporation in the city environment.