Ecology, Climate Change and Related News

Conservation Science for a Healthy Planet

Urban climate change: urban runoff strongly controlled by proportion of built up vs vegetated surfaces

Leave a Comment
September 11, 2017 University of California – Santa Barbara
Southern cities such as Houston and Tampa — which faced the wrath of hurricanes Harvey and Irma, respectively — may not be the only urban environments vulnerable to extreme weather. Northern cities also face the potential for flooding as global temperatures continue to warm…. In fact, higher temperatures have been found to disproportionately affect northern land areas, particularly the Arctic, which has already experienced fallout from climate change….
A new study by a group of international researchers, including UC Santa Barbara’s Joe McFadden, combines observations and modeling to assess the impact of climate and urbanization on the hydrological cycle across the distinct seasons in four cold climate cities in Europe and North America….the amount of precipitation is increasing but also the kind of precipitation is changing,” said McFadden, an associate professor in UCSB’s Department of Geography. “While more precipitation may fall in a year, it arrives as rain rather than snow because temperatures are rising. A shorter period covered by snow, more spring rain and faster snow melt can combine to release large amounts of runoff that have the potential to stress urban hydrologic systems and cause flooding in urban areas.”…

…The investigators found that after snow melt, urban runoff returns to being strongly controlled by the proportion of built-up versus vegetated surfaces, which can absorb water. However in winter, the presence of snow masks this influence….

L. Järvi, C. S. B. Grimmond, J. P. McFadden, A. Christen, I. B. Strachan, M. Taka, L. Warsta, M. Heimann. Warming effects on the urban hydrology in cold climate regions. Scientific Reports, 2017; 7 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s41598-017-05733-y

View all articles

Comments are closed