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Dubai construction alters local climate

One of the ways that humans alter climate is by changing the land use of a particular region, leading to changes in the energy balance locally.  Some climatologists believe that the Southeast has lagged other parts of the country in warming due to the change from widespread bare ground crops like cotton early in the 1900s to over 70 percent forest coverage more recently, although that is still an area of active study.

Another way that local climate can change is by land use changes due to urbanization, which replaces crops, grass or trees with pavement and buildings, which are much more effective at holding heat.  Here in Athens GA, a medium-sized city of a little over 100,000 people, we can see a temperature difference of 10 degrees F or more between the warm city center and the colder rural parts of the county on a calm clear winter night due to the effects of the buildings and pavement.

I was interested to read this story about Dubai’s massive building spree and the effects it is having on local climate in what is already a very hot part of the world.  You can read it in the blog of the American Geophysical Union here.

You can watch a video which shows the expansion of Dubai at https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Dubai_Coastal_Expansion.gif.

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