A New Study On The Importance of Land-Surface Types Including Urbanization on Surface Temperatures

A paper has just appeared that provides further evidence of the role of land-surface types within the climate system. The paper also documents the value of using existing model reanalyses to diagnose this effect. The paper provides evidence on the robustness of the conclusions in the 2003 Kalnay and Cai paper entitled “Impact of urbanization and land-use on climate change” (Nature, 423, 528-531); Corrigendum, which was (incorrectly as it now turns out) criticized in Nature in subsequent issues (Vose et al. 2003; Trenberth 2003 with reply by Cai and Kalnay 2003 ; subscription required) .

Lim, Young-Kwon; Cai, Ming; Kalnay, Eugenia; Zhou, Liming: Observational evidence of sensitivity of surface climate changes to land types and urbanization, Geophys. Res. Lett., Vol. 32, No. 22, L2271210.1029/2005GL024267, 30 November 2005

The abstract for this paper is

“Sensitivity of surface climate change to land types is investigated for the Northern Hemisphere by subtracting the reanalysis from the observed surface temperature (OMR). The basis of this approach is that while reanalysis represents the large-scale climate changes due to greenhouse gases and atmospheric circulation, it is less sensitive to regional surface processes associated with land types. OMR trends derived from two independent reanalyses (ERA40 and NNR) and two observations (CRU and GHCN) show similar dependence upon land types, suggesting the attribution of OMRs to different land types is robust. OMR trends reveal 1) Warming over barren areas is larger than most other land types. 2) Urban areas show large warming second only to barren areas. 3) Croplands with agricultural activity show a larger warming than natural broadleaf forests. The overall assessment indicates surface warming is larger for areas that are barren, anthropogenically developed, or covered with needle-leaf forests.â€?

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