Rapid urbanization in southeastern China in the past 25 years is responsible for an estimated warming rate much larger than previous estimates for other periods and locations, according to a new study funded by NASA.
Researchers led by the Georgia Institute of Technology report that the mean surface temperature in the region has risen 0.09 degrees Fahrenheit (0.05 degrees Celsius) per decade since 1979. Also, nighttime low temperatures have risen much faster than the daytime high temperatures. The average reduction of the day-to-night temperature range was 0.24 degrees F (0.132 degrees C) per decade. Their findings will appear in the June 29 print edition of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
To estimate the temperature changes due to urbanization, researchers used a new approach that integrated meteorological station observations, model-assimilated temperature predictions, satellite-measured greenness and Chinas census data. The modeling data -- provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administrations Centers for Environmental Prediction and the U.S. Department of Energy -- is considered more accurate than previous information because of its improvements in accounting for temperature range differences affected by cloud cover and soil moisture, the researchers note.
Jane Sanders | EurekAlert!
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