Urban climate change in SW USA deserts 1950-2018

Authors: Anthony Brazel*, arizona state university
Topics: Climatology and Meteorology, Urban Geography, Arid Regions
Keywords: Monthly maximum and minimum temperatures, June, desert SW USA, trends, urban, rural areas, Local Climate Zones, land cover
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/9/2020
Start / End Time: 11:10 AM / 12:25 PM
Room: Plaza Court 5, Sheraton, Concourse Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The Southwest USA deserts show large temperature changes (1901-2010). The most recent USA National Climate Assessment report does not discuss urban effects vs regional effects that might be evident in trends. Twenty five temperature stations with ca. 70 year records (1950 to 2018) have been accessed from US Global Historical Climate Network archives. Land cover data are accessed from a National Land Cover Database. Summer results show an astounding rate per year change among sites ranging from -0.01K to 0.05K for maximum temperatures and 0.01K to 0.11K for minimum temperatures (-0.8K to 3.2K; and 0.8K to 8.0K for the entire period). For maximum temperatures, almost half of the sites showed no significant trends at a stringent 0.01 level of statistical significance, but 20 of 25 were significant at the 0.05 level. For minimum temperatures, over 75% of sites were significant at the 0.01 level (92% at 0.05 level of significance). The urban-dominated stations in Las Vegas, Phoenix, Tucson, and Yuma show large minimum temperature trends, indicating emerging heat island effects. Rural sites by comparison show much smaller trends. Addressing heat in our urban areas by local actions, through collaborations with stakeholders and political resolve, will aid in meeting future urban challenges in this era of projected global climate change and continued warming

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