Climatic Change

, Volume 120, Issue 1–2, pp 109–122 | Cite as

Urbanization effects on the air temperature rise in Saudi Arabia

  • Mansour AlmazrouiEmail author
  • M. Nazrul Islam
  • P. D. Jones


We study the possible effects of urbanization on the rise of air temperature in Saudi Arabia for the period 1981–2010. The effects of variations in elevation and marine temperature on the air temperature trend are also investigated. Surface air temperature data are analyzed for 24 sites which are mostly located at the airports across the country. The population data for the current (2010) and earlier (2004 and 1992) censuses are used for the nearest cities where the observation sites are located. A national average is calculated using two different approaches (simple averaging and weighted according to area for 1985–2010 when all stations are available) which gives trends of 0.60 and 0.51 °C/decade respectively, both significant at the 99 % level. We find no link between the temperature increase and population increase nor with elevation at the 24 sites which are mostly located in the urban effected area but not at the city centers. This suggests that the rise in air temperature is not likely due to urbanization changes resulting from the population increases.


Temperature Trend City Center Saudi Arabia Urbanization Effect Global Telecommunication System 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This paper was funded by King Abdulaziz University (KAU), under grant No. 1-10-1432/HiCi). The authors, therefore, acknowledge the technical and financial support of KAU. The Presidency of Meteorology and Environment in Saudi Arabia is acknowledged for providing the observational datasets. The Central Department of Statistics and Information of the Ministry of Economy and Planning, Saudi Arabia is acknowledged for providing the population census data.


  1. Aguilar E, Auer I, Brunet M, Peterson TC, Wieringa J (2003) Guidance on metadata and homogenization. WMO Tech Doc No 1186, 53ppGoogle Scholar
  2. Almazroui M, Islam MN, Athar H, Jones PD, Rahman MA (2012a) Recent climate change in the Arabian Peninsula: annualrainfall and temperature analysis of Saudi Arabia for 1978–2009. Int J Clomatol 32:953–966. doi: 10.1002/joc.3446 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Almazroui M, Islam MN, Jones PD, Athar H, Rahman MA (2012b) Recent climate change in the Arabian Peninsula: seasonal rainfall and temperature climatology of Saudi Arabia for 1979–2009. Atmos Res 11:29–45. doi: 10.1016/j.atmosres.2012.02.013 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Amirtham LR, Devadas MD, Perumal M (2009) Mapping of micro-urban heat islands and land cover changes: a case in Chennai City, India. Int J Clim Chang: Impacts Response 1:71–84Google Scholar
  5. Brazel AJ, Selover N, Vose R, Heisler G (2000) The tale of two climates-Baltimore and Phoenix urban LTER sites. Climate Res 15:123–135CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Brohan P, Kennedy JJ, Harris I, Tett SFB, Jones PD (2006) Uncertainty estimates in regional and global observed temperature changes: a new data set from 1850. J Geophys Res 111: D12106:1-D12106:21Google Scholar
  7. Cueto ORG, Martínez AT, Morales GB (2009) Urbanization effects upon the air temperature in Mexicali, B. C., México. Atmósfera 22(4):349–365Google Scholar
  8. Dommenget D (2009) The ocean’s role in continental climatevariability and change. J Clim 22:4939–4952. doi: 10.1175/2009JCLI2778.1 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Efthymiadis D, Jones PD (2010) Assessment of maximum possible urbanization influences on land temperature data by comparison of land and marine data around coasts. Atmosphere 1(1):51–61. doi: 10.3390/atmos1010051 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Fiedler F (2003) Simple, practical method for determining station weights using Thiessen polygons and isohyetal maps. J Hydrol Eng 8(4):219–221CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Fujibe F (2009) Detection of urban warming in recent temperature trends in Japan. Int J Climatol 29:1811–1822CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Gaffin RS, Rosenzweig C, Khanbilvardi R, Parshall L, Mahani S, Glickman H, Goldberg R, Blake R, Slosberg RB, Hillel D (2008) Variations in New York city’s urban heat island strength over time and space. Theor Appl Climatol 94:1–11CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Hawkins WT, Brazel AJ, Stefanov WL, Bigler W, Safell EM (2004) The role of rural variability in urban heat island determination for Phoenix, Arizona. J Appl Meteor 43:476–486CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. IPCC (2007) Climate Change 2007: The physical science basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (Solomon, S., D. Qin, M. Manning, Z. Chen, M. Marquis, K.B. Averyt, M. Tignor, and H.L. Miller, Eds.). CambridgeUniversityPress, United Kingdom and New York, NY, USA, 996ppGoogle Scholar
  15. Jones PD, P-Ya G, Coughlan M, Plummer N, Wang W-C, Karl TR (1990) Assessment of urbanization effects in time series of surface air temperature over land. Nature 347:169–172CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Jones PD, Lister DH, Li Q (2008) Urbanization effects in large-scale temperature records, with an emphasis on China. J Geophys Res 113, D16122. doi: 10.1029/2008/JD009916 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Kalnay E, Cai M (2003) Impact of urbanization and land-use change on climate. Nature 423:528–531CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Kennedy JJ, Rayner NA, Smith RO, Saunby M, Parker DE (2011a) Reassessing biases and other uncertainties in sea-surface temperature observations measured in situ since 1850 part 1: measurement and sampling errors. J Geophys Res Atmospheres 116. doi: 10.1029/2010JD015218
  19. Kennedy JJ, Rayner NA, Smith RO, Saunby M, Parker DE (2011b) Reassessing biases and other uncertainties in sea-surface temperature observations measured in situ since 1850 part 2: biases and homogenisation. J Geophys Res 116. doi: 10.1029/2010JD01522
  20. Lowry WP (1977) Empirical estimation of the urban effects on climate: a problem analysis. J Appl Meteor 16:129–35CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Mochnacki B, Ciesielski M (2007) Application of Thiessen polygons in control volume model of solidification. J Achieve Mar Manufac Eng 23:75–78Google Scholar
  22. OkeTR (2004) Initial guidance to obtain representative meteorological observations at urban sites. WMO Tech Doc No 1250, 51ppGoogle Scholar
  23. Parker DE (2006) A demonstration that large-scale warming is not urban. J Clim 19:2882–2895CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Parker DE (2010) Urban heat island effects on estimates of observed climate change. Clim Chang 1:123–133. doi: 10.1002/wcc.021 Google Scholar
  25. Peterson TC (2003) Assessment of Urban Versus Rural In Situ Surface Temperatures in the Contiguous United States: No Difference Found. J Clim 16:2941–2959Google Scholar
  26. Peterson TC, Owen TW (2005) Urban heat island assessment: metadata are important. J Clim 18:2637–2646CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Runnalls KE, Oke TR (2006) A technique to detect microclimate inhomogeneities in historical records of screen-level air temperature. J Clim 19:959–78CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Stewart ID (2011) A systematic review and scientific critique of methodology in modern urban heat island literature. Int J Climatol. doi: 10.1002/joc.2141 Google Scholar
  29. Stewart ID, Oke TR (2012) Local climate zones for urban temperature studies. Bull Amer Meteor Soc 93(12):1879–1900. doi: 10.1175/BAMS-D-11-00019.1 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Thiessen AH (1911) Precipitation averages for large areas. Mon Wea Rev 39:1082–1084Google Scholar
  31. Zaria T, John WP, Myles C (2006) A comparison of Thiessen polygon, Kriging, and Spline models of potential UV exposure. Cartogr GeogrInfor Sci 33(3):217–231CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Zhang X, Yang F (2004) RClimDex software 1.0 available at

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mansour Almazroui
    • 1
    Email author
  • M. Nazrul Islam
    • 1
  • P. D. Jones
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Center of Excellence for Climate Change Research / Department of MeteorologyKing Abdulaziz UniversityJeddahSaudi Arabia
  2. 2.Climatic Research Unit, School of Environmental SciencesUniversity of East AngliaNorwichUK

Personalised recommendations