Urban effects on regional climate: A case study in the phoenix and tucson “sun corridor”

Zhao Yang, Francina Dominguez, Hoshin Gupta, Xubin Zeng, Laura Norman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Land-use and land-cover change (LULCC) due to urban expansion alter the surface albedo, heat capacity, and thermal conductivity of the surface. Consequently, the energy balance in urban regions is different from that of natural surfaces. To evaluate the changes in regional climate that could arise because of projected urbanization in the Phoenix–Tucson corridor, Arizona, this study applied the coupled WRF Model–Noah–Urban Canopy Model (UCM; which includes a detailed urban radiation scheme) to this region. Land-cover changes were represented using land-cover data for 2005 and projections to 2050, and historical North American Regional Reanalysis (NARR) data were used to specify the lateral boundary conditions. Results suggest that temperature changes will be well defined, reflecting the urban heat island (UHI) effect within areas experiencing LULCC. Changes in precipitation are less robust but seem to indicate reductions in precipitation over the mountainous regions northeast of Phoenix and decreased evening precipitation over the newly urbanized area.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-25
Number of pages25
JournalEarth Interactions
Issue number20
StatePublished - Aug 2016


  • Coupled models
  • Land surface model
  • Mesoscale models
  • Models and modeling
  • Regional models

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


Dive into the research topics of 'Urban effects on regional climate: A case study in the phoenix and tucson “sun corridor”'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this