The climate sensitivity to specification of agricultural and urban land cover was investigated using the climate version of the Pennsylvania State University/National Center for Atmospheric Research Mesoscale Model (MM5) for 1990 over northeastern United States. The simulations were for 5 yr at a spatial resolution of 36 km. Urbanization resulted in near-surface temperature increases of more than 1 K over the urban sites during both winter and summer. The increase in summer temperature due to urbanization was more widespread than that due to the effect of agricultural land use. The conversion of forest to agricultural land resulted in a decrease in temperature of more than 0.5 K during winter and an increase of more than 1 K during summer over the sites of perturbation. The reduced temperature during winter is related to snow cover. Agricultural lands are covered by snow while the trees in non-agricultural areas protrude through the snow, reducing the albedo of the surface. The warming during summer reflects reduced evaporation. Urbanization also reduces the diurnal temperature range (DTR) by about 0.4 K.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Global and Planetary Change