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Estimation of urban heat island intensity using biases in surface air temperature simulated by a nonhydrostatic regional climate model

Murata, Akihiko, Sasaki, Hidetaka, Hanafusa, Mizuki, Kurihara, Kazuo
Theoretical and applied climatology 2013 v.112 no.1-2 pp. 351-361
climate models, rural areas, surface temperature, urban areas, Japan
This study demonstrates that urban heat island (UHI) intensity can be estimated by comparing observational data and the outputs of a well-developed high-resolution regional climate model. Such an estimate is possible because the observations include the effects of UHI, whereas the model used does not include urban effects. Therefore, the errors in the simulated surface air temperature, defined as the difference between simulated and observed temperatures (simulated minus observed), are negative in urban areas but 0 in rural areas. UHI intensity is estimated by calculating the difference in temperature error between urban and rural areas. Our results indicate that overall UHI intensity in Japan is 1.5 K and that the intensity is greater in nighttime than in daytime, consistent with the previous studies. This study also shows that root mean square error and the magnitude of systematic error for the annual mean temperature are small (within 1.0 K).