Detecting urban warming signals in climate records

Yuting He, Gensuo Jia, Yonghong Hu, Zijiang Zhou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


Determining whether air temperatures recorded at meteorological stations have been contaminated by the urbanization process is still a controversial issue at the global scale. With support of historical remote sensing data, this study examined the impacts of urban expansion on the trends of air temperature at 69 meteorological stations in Beijing, Tianjin, and Hebei Province over the last three decades. There were significant positive relations between the two factors at all stations. Stronger warming was detected at the meteorological stations that experienced greater urbanization, i.e., those with a higher urbanization rate. While the total urban area affects the absolute temperature values, the change of the urban area (urbanization rate) likely affects the temperature trend. Increases of approximately 10% in urban area around the meteorological stations likely contributed to the 0.13°C rise in air temperature records in addition to regional climate warming. This study also provides a new approach to selecting reference stations based on remotely sensed urban fractions. Generally, the urbanization-induced warming contributed to approximately 44.1% of the overall warming trends in the plain region of study area during the past 30 years, and the regional climate warming was 0.30°C (10 yr)-1 in the last three decades.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1143-1153
Number of pages11
JournalAdvances in Atmospheric Sciences
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atmospheric Science


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