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Seasonal temperature responses to land-use change in the western United States

Global and Planetary Change

By:
, , , , , , , , , ,
DOI: 10.1016/j.gloplacha.2007.03.005

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Abstract

In the western United States, more than 79 000??km2 has been converted to irrigated agriculture and urban areas. These changes have the potential to alter surface temperature by modifying the energy budget at the land-atmosphere interface. This study reports the seasonally varying temperature responses of four regional climate models (RCMs) - RSM, RegCM3, MM5-CLM3, and DRCM - to conversion of potential natural vegetation to modern land-cover and land-use over a 1-year period. Three of the RCMs supplemented soil moisture, producing large decreases in the August mean (- 1.4 to - 3.1????C) and maximum (- 2.9 to - 6.1????C) 2-m air temperatures where natural vegetation was converted to irrigated agriculture. Conversion to irrigated agriculture also resulted in large increases in relative humidity (9% to 36% absolute change). Modeled changes in the August minimum 2-m air temperature were not as pronounced or consistent across the models. Converting natural vegetation to urban land-cover produced less pronounced temperature effects in all models, with the magnitude of the effect dependent upon the preexisting vegetation type and urban parameterizations. Overall, the RCM results indicate that the temperature impacts of land-use change are most pronounced during the summer months, when surface heating is strongest and differences in surface soil moisture between irrigated land and natural vegetation are largest. ?? 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Seasonal temperature responses to land-use change in the western United States
Series title:
Global and Planetary Change
DOI:
10.1016/j.gloplacha.2007.03.005
Volume
60
Issue:
3-4
Year Published:
2008
Language:
English
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
Larger Work Title:
Global and Planetary Change
First page:
250
Last page:
264
Number of Pages:
15