ASU In the News

ASU research on climate impacts of urbanization gains widespread attention

A recently published study by ASU researchers and colleagues at the National Center for Atmospheric Research has produced widespread interest in news media – from the Los Angeles Times to Terra Espana, the Spain internet outlet of a prominent Spanish-language media company.

The research uses Arizona’s Sun Corridor as a case study to explore urban-induced relative to greenhouse-gas-induced climate change. Download Full Image

The Los Angeles Times’ story not only reports on the researchers’ projections of temperature increases due to urbanization, but discusses the varying results when models use worst- and best-case scenarios for urban growth, and the adaptation approach of painting roofs white.

Other commentaries reflect the power of the research to provoke thought about local climate in regions seemingly very different than Arizona. In Kentucky, the Courier-Journal’s environmental writer James Bruegger comments, “The study seems quite relevant to Louisville, which has its own oversized and rapidly expanding urban heat island.”

“On a local scale, knowing the impact of urbanization on climate can catalyze thinking about how to plan urban growth to maintain a livable climate,” says Matei Georgescu, lead author of the recently published Nature Climate Change article.

Matei Georgescu is assistant professor in the School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning. Other co-authors of the report are Alex Mahalov and Mohamed Moustaoui, both in ASU’s School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences, and Jimy Dudhia, a project scientist in the Mesoscale and Microscale Meteorology Division at the National Center for Atmospheric Research.

All three ASU co-authors are affiliated with ASU’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the Global Institute of Sustainability. Mahalov is the Wilhoit Foundation Dean’s Distinguished Professor and Moustaoui is an assistant professor.

Selected media reports:

• Los Angeles Times: Urban growth means hotter summers; white paint can help, Aug. 16, 2012

• Kentucky Courier-Journal: Phoenix area temperatures could soar with continued growth, Aug.12, 2012

• Terra Espana: El aumento de la población urbana mundial en más de 2.500 millones para 2050 afectará al clima global, Aug. 12, 2012

• ClimateWire:  Study measures the rising temperature of a megalopolis and what can be done, Aug. 14, 2012

• Arizona Public Media: A Burning Question, Aug. 16, 2012

• Yahoo International:  Growing cities cause urban warming, Aug. 14, 2012

• KJZZ radio: Urban growth to raise temperatures, Aug. 13, 2012

Update:  An additional interview aired on PBS Eight Arizona's HorizonMegapolitan Impacts on Climate, Aug. 20, 2012

Article Source: Los Angeles Times
Barbara Trapido-Lurie

research professional senior, School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning