Towards an Understanding of the Regional Impact of Urbanization
More than 70% of the world’s population are projected to live within cities by 2050. While only a small percentage of the Earth’s land surface is covered by cities, the rapid expansion of urbanization has drastically changed regional landscapes around the globe. Urban climate research has documented changes in temperature, aerosols, and precipitation near cities. Because of the large societal dependence on the urban landscape, cities are simultaneously vulnerable to and the cause of shifts in climate regimes. The vast majority of urban climate research has largely ignored the aggregate effects of adjacent cities, or urban clusters, on regional scale climate. In addition the collective impact, the effects on winter precipitation events have been sidelined in favor of warm-season, convective research. Understanding how and where these impacts are prone to occur provides value to communities that seek to mitigate weather and climate impacts as they plan future growth. This talk explores how urban clusters impact regional climate, particularly how winter precipitation type is modified inside these clusters. By constructing a cold-season climatology of precipitation around an urban framework, a basis for further case study examination featuring the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model is established. Atmospheric response to land use/land cover changes show the impacts of cities extend beyond localized urban-rural boundaries; this case study analysis sets the framework for future work across diverse phenomena and urban configurations.