Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Sensitivity of a global climate model to the urban land unit
by Bogart, Tianna A., Ph.D., University of Delaware, 2013, 316; 3598618
Abstract (Summary)

With more than half of the world's population living in urban areas, it is important that the relationships between the urban environment and climate are better understood. The current research aims to continue the effort in assessing and understanding the urban environment through the use of a global climate model (GCM). Given the relative newness of the presence of an urban land type and model in a GCM, there are many more facets of the urban-climate relationship to be investigated. By comparing thirty-year ensembles of CAM4 coupled with CLM4 both with (U) and without (Un) the inclusion of the urban land type, the sensitivity of the atmospheric model to urban land cover is assessed. As expected, largest differences tend to be in the Northern Hemisphere due to the location of most of the globe's densest and expansive cities. Significant differences in the basic climate variables of temperature and precipitation are present at annual, seasonal, and monthly scales in some regions. Seasonality to the urban influence also exists with the transition months of Spring and Fall having the largest difference in temperatures. Of the eleven regions defined by Oleson (2012), three were most impacted by the presence of urban land cover in the model—Europe, Central Asia, and East Asia.

Since urban attributes can vary greatly within one world continent, the sensitivity of regional climates to the urban type parameters is also explored. By setting all urban land cover to only one urban density type, the importance of city composition on climate, even within the same city, is highlighted. While preserving the distinct urban regional characteristics and the geographical distribution of urbanized areas, the model is run with homogeneous urban types: high density and tall building district. As with the default urban and excluded urban runs, a strong seasonality to the differences between the solo-high-density simulation and default urban (UHD – U) and solo-tall-building-district-density simulation and default urban (UTBD – U) exists. Overall, the transition and winter months are most sensitive to changes in urban density type.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Hanson, Brian, Legates, David R.
Commitee: Feddema, Johannes, Veron, Dana E., Willmott, Cort J.
School: University of Delaware
Department: Geography
School Location: United States -- Delaware
Source: DAI-B 75/02(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Physical geography, Climate Change
Keywords: Climate modeling, Land climate interaction, Urban climate, Urban landscapes
Publication Number: 3598618
ISBN: 9781303473678