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Impacts of Urbanization and Station-relocation on Surface Air Temperature Series in Anhui Province, China


Since the 1990s, many meteorological stations in China have passively “entered” cities, which has led to frequent relocation and discontinuity in observational records at many stations. To study the impacts of urbanization on surface air temperature series, 52 meteorological stations in Anhui Province were chosen based firstly on a homogeneity test of the time series, and then their surrounding underlying surfaces during different decades were identified utilizing Landsat Multispectral Scanner images from the 1970s, Landsat Thematic Mapper images from 1980s and 1990s, and Enhanced Thematic Mapper images after 2000, to determine whether or not the station “entered” city, and then these stations were categorized into three groups: urban, suburban, and rural using Landsat-measured land use/land cover (LULC) around the station. Finally, variations in annual mean air temperature (T mean), maximum air temperature (T max), and minimum air temperature (T min) were analyzed in urban-type stations and compared to their surrounding rural-type stations. The results showed that, in Anhui Province over the past two decades, many rural stations experienced urbanization and changed into urban or suburban locations. This process is referred as the “city-entering” phenomena of stations. Consequently, many of the latest stations were relocated and moved to currently rural and suburban areas, which significantly influenced the continuity of observational records and the homogeneity of long-term trends. Based on homogeneous data series, the averaged annual T mean, T max, and T min over Anhui Province increased at a rate of 0.407, 0.383 and 0.432 °C decade−1 from 1970 to 2008. The strongest effect of urbanization on annual T mean, T max, and T min trends occurred at urban stations, with corresponding contributions of 35.824, 14.286, and 45.161 % to total warming, respectively. This work provides convincing evidences that (1) urban expansion has important impacts on the evaluation of regional climate change, (2) high spatial resolution images of Landsat are very useful for selecting reference climate stations for evaluating the potential urban bias in the surface air temperature data in certain regions of the continents, and (3) meteorological observation adjustments of station-relocation-induced inhomogeneities are essential for the study of regional or global climate change.

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We thank the anonymous reviewers for their useful comments and suggestions. This study was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 41205126) and Open Research Fund of Key Laboratory of Atmospheric Composition and Optical Radiation of Chinese Academy of Sciences (Grant.JJ1102), Global Change Global Research key Project of National Science Plan (Grant. 2010CB951302), ‘100 Talents Project’ of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Open Research Fund of State Key of Laboratory of Atmospheric Boundary Physics and Atmospheric Chemistry (LAPC-KF-2011-05), Meteorological Research Fund of Anhui Meteorological Bureau (KM201208) and the National Program on Key Basic Research Project of China (2010CB428502).

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Correspondence to Yuan-Jian Yang.

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Yang, YJ., Wu, BW., Shi, Ce. et al. Impacts of Urbanization and Station-relocation on Surface Air Temperature Series in Anhui Province, China. Pure Appl. Geophys. 170, 1969–1983 (2013).

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  • Urbanization
  • station-relocation
  • Landsat
  • urban heat island
  • regional climate change