About this Research Topic
More than 50% of the world population today lives in urban areas. Such high population density puts on increased pressure on ecosystems services and, reduces the resilience to external hazards such as extreme weather events. The long and short-term effects of urbanization on the environment and its relationship with the urban socioeconomical systems are still poorly understood.
The changing climate in cities is mainly due to urbanization, more important even than those changes associated with global warming. Changes in land use lead to changes in the albedo, the solar radiation balance and surface fluxes of heat, moisture and mechanical momentum (in part due to alterations in soil moisture and roughness conditions). They reflect in increases in local and also regional temperature and affect the atmospheric boundary layer dynamics and the pollution dispersion conditions.
Regional climate changes also affect ecosystem services, such as the availability of water, which often induces an amplification of the ecological footprint of cities. Understanding to what extent these ecosystem services are affected by changes in regional climate, population and urban expansion, requires a multidisciplinary approach.
Knowing that the proportion of people in cities is increasing with respect to the rural population (mainly in the developing world) is necessary to explore how basic services will be provided. Additionally, the projection of climate risk conditions under traditional urban growth patterns is a necessity to reduce frequency and magnitude of natural disasters.
Undoubtedly, research is necessary for better diagnoses, not only to understand the urban climate dynamics, but also to enhance our capacity for improved modeling systems. Along with better vulnerability diagnoses of urban areas, scientific analyses may result in better adaptation strategies (which eventually could become public policies) in a manageable context for the society. This Research Topic may certainly increase capabilities of working groups in a multidisciplinary context, to use climate information and promote sustainability.
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