Land Use Impacts on Surface Temperature


Regional surface temperatures can be affected by changes in land use according to a DOE-funded study, that greener land cover contributes to cooler temperatures and most other changes lead to warmer temperatures. The study examined sensitivities of surface temperature trends for the period 1979-2003 using land cover change information over the 48 conterminous United States and data from the DOE Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Climate Research Facility’s Southern Great Plains site in Oklahoma. The study is further evidence that land use should be better incorporated into computer models projecting future climate conditions and suggests that strategies such as creating green spaces and buffer zones in and around urban areas could be a tool in addressing climate change.


Fall, S., et al. 2009. “Impacts of Land Use Land Cover on Temperature Trends over the Continental United States: Assessment Using the North American Regional Reanalysis, International Journal of Climatology. DOI: 10.1002/joc.1996, published online.