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Less sensitive of urban surface to climate variability than rural in Northern China

Yao, Rui, Wang, Lunche, Huang, Xin, Chen, Jiangping, Li, Jiarui, Niu, Zigeng
The Science of the total environment 2018 v.628-629 pp. 650-660
cities, climate, correlation, heat island, rural areas, summer, surface temperature, urbanization, vegetation index, winter, China
In this study, the relationships between interannual variations of surface urban heat islands (SUHIs) and climate variability were studied in 31 cities of China for the period 2001–2016. For cold and dry Northern China, it was found that the interannual variations of SUHI intensity (SUHII, land surface temperature (LST) in urban minus rural) in urban cores was significantly (p<0.05) and negatively correlated with rural LST in 9 (in summer days (SDs)) and 8 (in winter days (WDs)) of the 15 northern cities, respectively. In addition, the daytime LST differences between hot summers and other summers and between cold winters and other winters were generally lower in urban cores (1.141°C for SDs and 2.535°C for WDs) than in rural areas (1.890°C for SDs and 3.377°C for WDs). The standard deviation was further used to reflect the interannual stabilities of LST, enhanced vegetation index (EVI) and white sky albedo (WSA). Interestingly, the standard deviations of LST across 2001–2016 were generally lower in urban cores (0.994°C for SDs and 1.577°C for WDs) than in rural areas (1.431°C for SDs and 2.077°C for WDs). Similar results were observed for EVI and WSA (winter). The results suggested that the urban surface is less sensitive to climate variability than rural areas in Northern China. Comparatively, most findings were less evident in hot and humid Southern China. Despite the whole world would become warmer or colder in future, the insensitivity of urban surface may mitigate its impacts in cold and dry Northern China. However, it does not mean that urbanization is totally good due to its environmental problem.