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

Earth Interactions
By: , and 



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.

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Urban effects on regional climate: a case study in the Phoenix and Tucson ‘sun’ corridor
Series title Earth Interactions
DOI 10.1175/EI-D-15-0027.1
Volume 20
Year Published 2016
Language English
Publisher American Meteorological Society
Publisher location Boston, MA
Contributing office(s) Western Geographic Science Center
Description Paper No. 20; 25 p.
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
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