Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2009, Vol. 64 ›› Issue (11): 1292-1302.doi: 10.11821/xb200911002

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Impact of Urban Expansion on Meteorological Observation Data and Overestimation to Regional Air Temperature in China

SHAO Quan-qin1, SUN Chao-yang1,2, LIU Ji-yuan1, BAN Yi-fang3, HE Jian-feng1, KUANG Wen-hui1   

  1. 1. Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research,CAS,Beijing 100101,China;
    2. Graduate University of Chinese Academy of Sciences,Beijing 100039,China
    3. Royal Institute of Technology,Stockholm,S-10044
  • Received:2009-05-05 Revised:2009-07-12 Online:2009-11-25 Published:2009-11-25
  • Supported by:

    National 973 Program, No.2009CB421105; Swedish Research Links, No.2006-24724-44416-13; Knowledge Innovation Project of CAS, No.KZCX2-YW-305-3; National Key Technology R&D Program, No.20006BAC08B00


Since the 1970s, some meteorological observation stations in China 'entered'into cities passively due to urban expansion. The changes in underlying surface and building environment around the stations have had influences on the observation of air temperature,leading to overestimation on the regional air temperature. In this study, the surface underlying 756 meteorological stations across China was firstly identified based on the MSS images of the 1970s, TM images fore-and-aft 1990, and ETM images fore-and-aft 2000 and 2005, to distinguish the stations that 'entered' into cities. Then, after removing the observed data at these stations influenced by urban expansion, we built a dataset of background air temperature by interpolating the observed data at all the left stations. The average Urban Heat-island Intensity (HI) since 1970 was estimated by comparing the two datasets. The results show that overestimation on regional air temperature does occur due to urban expansion, with higher HI in autumn and winter than in spring and summer. Spatially, the overestimation is relatively higher in eastern China than in the middle part of China, however it is much higher in the above two regions than in western China. In the last 40 years the average temperature in China increased by about 1.58 oC, among which about 0.09 oC was attributed to urban expansion in some regions.

Key words: meteorological stations, RS, meteorological data interpolation, urban heat-island intensity, temperature