Abstract

In this study, the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) Model and its embedded land surface and urban canopy model are used to simulate effects of urbanization on the local climate of the Las Vegas, Nevada, metropolitan area. High-resolution simulations are performed with a 3-km horizontal resolution over the city. With identical lateral boundary conditions, three land use/land cover (LULC) maps for 2006, 1992, and hypothetical 1900 are used in multiple simulations. The differences in the simulated climate among those cases are used to quantify the urban effect. The study found that urbanization in Las Vegas produces a classic urban heat island (UHI) at night but a minor cooling trend during the day. An analysis of the surface energy balance helps illustrate the major roles of the decreases in surface albedo of solar radiation and increases in the effective emissivity of longwave radiation in shaping the local climate change in Las Vegas. In addition, the emerging urban structures are found to have a mechanical effect of slowing down the climatological wind field over the urban area as a result of an increased effective surface roughness. The slowing down of the diurnal circulation leads to a secondary modification of temperature, which exhibits a complicated diurnal dependence. This suggests the need for more investigations into the coupling of thermodynamic and mechanical effects of urbanization on local climate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2157-2177
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology
Volume54
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - 2015

Fingerprint

metropolitan area
urbanization
climate
heat island
longwave radiation
surface energy
emissivity
surface roughness
wind field
energy balance
simulation
albedo
land surface
solar radiation
land cover
boundary condition
urban area
thermodynamics
canopy
cooling

Keywords

  • Atmosphere-land interaction
  • Heat budgets/fluxes
  • Mesoscale models
  • North America
  • Regional models
  • Surface temperature

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science

Cite this

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title = "The influence of urbanization on the climate of the las vegas metropolitan area: A numerical study",
abstract = "In this study, the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) Model and its embedded land surface and urban canopy model are used to simulate effects of urbanization on the local climate of the Las Vegas, Nevada, metropolitan area. High-resolution simulations are performed with a 3-km horizontal resolution over the city. With identical lateral boundary conditions, three land use/land cover (LULC) maps for 2006, 1992, and hypothetical 1900 are used in multiple simulations. The differences in the simulated climate among those cases are used to quantify the urban effect. The study found that urbanization in Las Vegas produces a classic urban heat island (UHI) at night but a minor cooling trend during the day. An analysis of the surface energy balance helps illustrate the major roles of the decreases in surface albedo of solar radiation and increases in the effective emissivity of longwave radiation in shaping the local climate change in Las Vegas. In addition, the emerging urban structures are found to have a mechanical effect of slowing down the climatological wind field over the urban area as a result of an increased effective surface roughness. The slowing down of the diurnal circulation leads to a secondary modification of temperature, which exhibits a complicated diurnal dependence. This suggests the need for more investigations into the coupling of thermodynamic and mechanical effects of urbanization on local climate.",
keywords = "Atmosphere-land interaction, Heat budgets/fluxes, Mesoscale models, North America, Regional models, Surface temperature",
author = "Samy Kamal and Huei-Ping Huang and Soe Myint",
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AB - In this study, the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) Model and its embedded land surface and urban canopy model are used to simulate effects of urbanization on the local climate of the Las Vegas, Nevada, metropolitan area. High-resolution simulations are performed with a 3-km horizontal resolution over the city. With identical lateral boundary conditions, three land use/land cover (LULC) maps for 2006, 1992, and hypothetical 1900 are used in multiple simulations. The differences in the simulated climate among those cases are used to quantify the urban effect. The study found that urbanization in Las Vegas produces a classic urban heat island (UHI) at night but a minor cooling trend during the day. An analysis of the surface energy balance helps illustrate the major roles of the decreases in surface albedo of solar radiation and increases in the effective emissivity of longwave radiation in shaping the local climate change in Las Vegas. In addition, the emerging urban structures are found to have a mechanical effect of slowing down the climatological wind field over the urban area as a result of an increased effective surface roughness. The slowing down of the diurnal circulation leads to a secondary modification of temperature, which exhibits a complicated diurnal dependence. This suggests the need for more investigations into the coupling of thermodynamic and mechanical effects of urbanization on local climate.

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