Main content area

Effects of urbanization on winter wind chill conditions over China

Lin, Lijie, Luo, Ming, Chan, Ting On, Ge, Erjia, Liu, Xiaoping, Zhao, Yongquan, Liao, Weilin
The Science of the total environment 2019 v.688 pp. 389-397
air, air temperature, ambient temperature, confidence interval, forests, grasslands, human health, models, urban areas, urbanization, wind speed, winter, China
Human-perceived wind chill describes the combined effects of wind velocity and low temperature, strongly related to human health and natural environment. Although long-term trends in the air or ambient temperature over China under global warming have been well studied in the literature, the changes in human-perceived wind chill conditions, especially under possible urbanization effects, are still not completely known. This paper investigates the changes of wind chill over China and quantifies the associated urbanization effect by examining nearly 2000 meteorological stations during 1961–2014 using the generalized additive model (GAM). Results show that the winter wind chill temperature (WCT) in China exhibits more prominent raising trends than the air temperature, i.e., 0.623 and 0.349 °C per decade, respectively. The wind speed (V) and wind chill days (WCD) decreased by 0.149 m/s and 1.970 days per decade, respectively. These trends become more substantial in densely populated and highly urbanized areas such as the North China Plain. The expansion of urban built-up area induces additional warming (reducing) to the increase (decrease) in WCT (WCD). On average, an increase from 0% to 100% in the urban fraction induced 0.290 ± 0.067 °C higher WCT (± denotes the 95% confidence interval), along with a reduction in V and WCD by 0.052 ± 0.014 m/s and 3.513 ± 0.387 days, respectively; whereas, the presence of the grassland and forest significantly diminishes the WCT and increases the WCD and surface V. It is expected that wind chill over China tends to be weakened under glocal warming and local urbanization in the near future. Our results have important implications for climate change mitigation, urban planning, landscape design, and air pollution abatement.