Theoretical and Applied Climatology

, Volume 134, Issue 1–2, pp 309–323 | Cite as

The impact of urbanization during half a century on surface meteorology based on WRF model simulations over National Capital Region, India

  • Ankur Prabhat Sati
  • Manju MohanEmail author
Original Paper


An estimated 50% of the global population lives in the urban areas, and this percentage is projected to reach around 69% by the year 2050 (World Urbanization Prospects 2009). There is a considerable growth of urban and built-up area during the recent decades over National Capital Region (NCR) of India (17-fold increase in the urban extent). The proposed study estimates the land use land cover changes particularly changes to urban class from other land use types such as croplands, shrubland, open areas, and water bodies and quantify these changes for a span of about five decades. Further, the impact of these land use/land cover changes is examined on spatial and temporal variations of meteorological parameters using the Weather Research and Forecast (WRF) Model. The urbanized areas appear to be one of the regions with highest changes in the values of the fluxes and temperatures where during daytime, the surface sensible heat flux values show a noticeable increase of 60–70 W m−2 which commensurate with increase in urbanization. Similarly, the nighttime LST and T2m show an increase of 3–5 and 2–3 K, respectively. The diurnal temperature range (DTR) of LST and surface temperature also shows a decrease of about 5 and 2–3 K, respectively, with increasing urbanization. Significant decrease in the magnitude of surface winds and relative humidity is also observed over the areas converted to urban form over a period of half a century. The impacts shown here have serious implications on human health, energy consumption, ventilation, and atmospheric pollution.



The authors thank NCEP/NCAR for FNL analysis dataset and WRF modeling system, Central Pollution control Board (CPCB), India, and Indian Meteorological Department India for meteorological data used in the present study.

Funding information

Authors acknowledge High Performance Computational (HPC) facility provided under DST FIST ('Fund for Improvement of Science and Technology Infrastructure) 2014 Projects at Centre for Atmospheric Sciences, IIT Delhi.


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© Springer-Verlag GmbH Austria 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Atmospheric SciencesIndian Institute of Technology DelhiHauz KhasIndia

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