Urbanization-induced urban heat island and aerosol effects on climate extremes in the Yangtze River Delta Region of China
Shi Zhong, Yun Qian, Chun Zhao, Ruby Leung, Hailong Wang, Ben Yang, Jiwen Fan, Huiping Yan, Xiu-Qun Yang, Dongqing Liu
Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics Discussions
The WRF-Chem model coupled with a single-layer Urban Canopy Model (UCM) is integrated for 5 years at convection-permitting scale to investigate the individual and combined impacts of urbanization-induced changes in land cover and pollutants emission on regional climate in the Yangtze River Delta (YRD) region in eastern China. Simulations with the urbanization effects reasonably reproduced the observed features of temperature and precipitation in the YRD region. Urbanization over the YRD induces
... an Urban Heat Island (UHI) effect, which increases the surface temperature by 0.53&thinsp;°C in summer and increases the annual heat wave days at a rate of 3.7&thinsp;d/yr in the major megacities in the YRD, accompanied by intensified heat stress. In winter, the near-surface air temperature increases by approximately 0.7&thinsp;°C over commercial areas in the cities but decreases in the surrounding areas. Radiative effects of aerosols tend to cool the surface air by reducing net shortwave radiation at the surface. Compared to the more localized UHI effect, aerosol effects on solar radiation and temperature influence a much larger area, especially downwind of the city-cluster in the YRD.<br><br> Results also show that the UHI increases the frequency of extreme summer precipitation by strengthening the convergence and updrafts over urbanized areas in the afternoon, which favor the development of deep convection. In contrast, the radiative forcing of aerosols results in a surface cooling and upper atmospheric heating, which enhances atmospheric stability and suppresses convection. The combined effects of the UHI and aerosols on precipitation depend on synoptic conditions. Two rainfall events under two typical but different synoptic weather patterns are further analyzed and the results suggest that synoptic forcing plays a significant role in modulating the urbanization-induced land-cover and aerosol effects on individual rainfall event. Hence precipitation changes due to urbanization effects may offset each other under different synoptic conditions, resulting in little changes in mean precipitation at longer time scales.