Cities Affect Global Weather Currents

The heat emanating from large metropolitan areas may be changing weather patterns thousands of miles away.

By | January 28, 2013

A composite image of Earth at night, compiled from over 400 satellite images, shows the locations of major cities, which new research suggests can have far-reaching effects on temperature. NASA AND NOAAEscaped heat from buildings, cars, and other sources can change the weather in other parts of the country, say the authors of a study published yesterday (January 27) in Nature Climate Change. According to the climate models, city-generated heat may be causing warming by 1 degree Celsius in North America and northern Asia mostly over the winter and fall months, by warming the jet stream currents flowing over cities. On the other hand, parts of Europe may experience decreases in temperature by the same amount, due to changes in atmospheric circulation caused by the warmed currents.

“The world’s most populated and energy-intensive metropolitan areas are along the east and west coasts of the North American and Eurasian continents, underneath the most prominent atmospheric circulation troughs and ridges,” co-author Ming Cai of Florida State University said in a press release. “The release of this concentrated waste energy causes the noticeable interruption to the normal atmospheric circulation systems above, leading to remote surface temperature changes far away from the regions where waste heat is generated.”

The study helps explain why some areas have been experiencing warmer winters than predicted by current climate change models.

Add a Comment

Avatar of: You



Sign In with your LabX Media Group Passport to leave a comment

Not a member? Register Now!

LabX Media Group Passport Logo


Avatar of: Paul Stein

Paul Stein

Posts: 205

January 28, 2013

It is unfortunate that there even has to be a journal called "Nature Climate Change".  Indeed, much of the work of current scientists, especially conservation biologists, is recording the downfall of the biosphere.  That being said...

It's about time a concerted effort has been prepared illustrating how human constructions by themselves influence climate.  Strangely, asphalt, which everyone knows from common observation retains huge amounts of solar heat, has always been relegated as an "insignificant" part of the equation to not even being looked at.  I'm glad to see with this study, that will hopefully change.


Popular Now

  1. UC Berkeley Receives CRISPR Patent in Europe
    Daily News UC Berkeley Receives CRISPR Patent in Europe

    The European Patent Office will grant patent rights over the use of CRISPR in all cell types to a University of California team, contrasting with a recent decision in the U.S.

  2. DNA Replication Errors Contribute to Cancer Risk
  3. Should Healthy People Have Their Exomes Sequenced?
    Daily News Should Healthy People Have Their Exomes Sequenced?

    With its announced launch of a whole-exome sequencing service for apparently healthy individuals, Ambry Genetics is the latest company to enter this growing market. But whether these services are useful for most people remains up for debate.  

  4. Rethinking a Cancer Drug Target
    Daily News Rethinking a Cancer Drug Target

    The results of a CRISPR-Cas9 study suggest that MELK—a protein thought to play a critical role in cancer—is not necessary for cancer cell survival.

Business Birmingham