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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2018-569
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2018-569
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 06 Sep 2018

Research article | 06 Sep 2018

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP).

Anthropogenic and natural drivers of a strong winter urban heat island in a typical Arctic city

Mikhail Varentsov1,2, Pavel Konstantinov1,3, Alexander Baklanov4, Igor Esau5, Victoria Miles5, and Richard Davy5 Mikhail Varentsov et al.
  • 1Lomonosov Moscow State University, Faculty of Geography/Research Computing Center, GSP-1, Leninskiye gory, 19991, Moscow, Russia
  • 2A.M. Obukhov Institute of Atmospheric Physic of the Russian Academy of Science, Pyzhevsky pereulok, 3, 119017, Moscow, Russia
  • 3Kola Science Centre of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Fersman str. 14, 184209, Apatity, Russia
  • 4World Meteorological Organization (WMO), Avenue de la Paix, 7 bis, 1211, Genève, Switzerland
  • 5Nansen Environmental and Remote Sensing Centre/Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research, Thormøhlensgate 47, 5006, Bergen, Norway

Abstract. The Arctic has rapidly urbanized in recent decades with two million people currently living in more than a hundred cities north of 65°N. These cities have a harsh but sensitive climate and warming here is the principle driver of destructive thawing, water leakages, air pollution, and other detrimental environmental impacts. This study reports on the urban temperature anomaly in a typical Arctic city. This persistent warm anomaly reaches up to 11 K in winter with the wintertime mean urban temperature being on average 1.9K higher in the city centre than in the surrounding natural landscape. An urban temperature anomaly, also known as an urban heat island (UHI), was found in remote sensing and in situ temperature data. High-resolution (1km) model experiments run with and without an urban surface parametrization helped to identify the leading physical and geographical factors supporting a strong temperature anomaly in a cold climate. The statistical analysis and modelling suggest that direct anthropogenic heating contributes at least 50% to the observed UHI intensity, and the rest is created by natural microclimatic variability over the undulating relief of the area. The current UHI effect can be as large as the projected, and already amplified, warming for the region in the 21st century. In contrast to earlier reports, this study found that the wintertime UHI in the Arctic should be largely attributed to direct anthropogenic heating. This is a strong argument in support of energy efficiency measures, urban climate change mitigation policy, and against high-density urban development in polar settlements. The complex pattern of thermal conditions, as revealed in this study, challenges urban planners to account for the observed micro-climatic diversity in perspective sustainable development solutions.

Mikhail Varentsov et al.
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This study reports on the wintertime urban heat island in a typical Arctic city. Using in-situ observations, remote sensing data and modelling, we show that urban temperature anomaly reaches up to 11 K with a mean of 1.9 K. Anthropogenic heating contributes at least 50 % to the observed UHI, and the rest is created by natural microclimatic variability over the hilly terrain. This is a strong argument in support of energy efficiency measures and urban climate change mitigation in the Arctic.
This study reports on the wintertime urban heat island in a typical Arctic city. Using in-situ...
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