Unexpected large-scale atmospheric response to urbanization in East China

  • Hongyun Ma
  • Tim LiEmail author
  • Zhihong Jiang
  • Peng Gu


Urban land use in East China has undergone considerable change since the 1990s. How such change affects both in situ and remote climate conditions is investigated through numerical modelling experiments with the Community Atmosphere Model Version 5.1. The results show that urbanization causes an increase in surface temperature due to reduced surface albedo but a decrease in specific humidity due to locally reduced surface evaporation. The change in specific humidity overwhelms the surface temperature change effect, leading to locally reduced precipitation. It is noted that urbanization causes changes in climate conditions not only locally but also remotely. Anomalous low-level divergence associated with the reduced precipitation in situ prevents the northward progression of the East Asian summer monsoon. As a result, the major monsoon rain band is strengthened and confined over South China and the tropical Asian monsoon zone along 12°–25°N. The increase of rainfall in the tropical zone, on one hand, induces the local overturning cell, leading to anomalous subsidence over mid-latitude Asia and the equatorial zone, and, on the other hand, perturbs the Subtropical Jet, generating a Rossby wave train disseminating along the Jet. Both of these processes cause anomalous dry and hot conditions over mid-latitude Asia.


Urbanization Remote response Precipitation East Asian monsoon Rossby wave train Overturning cell 



This work is jointly supported by China National Key R&D Program 2017YFA0603802, 2016YFA0600402 and 2015CB453201, NSFC Grants 41641046, 41630423, 41475084 and 41575043, NSF Grant AGS-1565653, and the priority academic program development of Jiangsu Higher Education institutions (PAPD). This is SOEST contribution number 10427 and  IPRC contribution number 1334.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Meteorological Disaster, Ministry of Education (KLME)/Joint International Research Laboratory of Climate and Environmental Change (ILCEC)/Collaborative Innovation Center on Forecast and Evaluation of Meteorological Disasters (CIC-FEMD)Nanjing University of Information Science and TechnologyNanjingChina
  2. 2.International Pacific Research Center and Department of Atmospheric Sciences, School of Ocean and Earth Science and TechnologyUniversity of HawaiiHonoluluUSA

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