Evaluating the impacts of land use and land cover changes on surface air temperature using the WRF-mosaic approach
Satellite-derived land surface data in 1980 and 2010 were used to represent land use and land cover (LULC) changes caused by the rapid economic development and human activities that have occurred over the past few decades in East Asia and China. The effects of LULC changes on the radiation budget and 2-m surface air temperature (SAT) were explored for the period using the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model. The mosaic approach, which considers the N-most abundant land use types within a model grid cell (here, N = 3) and precisely describes the subgrid-scale LULC changes, was adopted in the integrations. The impacts of LULC changes based on two 36-year integrations showed that SAT generally decreased, with the sole exception being over eastern China, resulting in decreased SAT in China (−0.062 °C) and East Asian land areas (EAL, −0.061 °C). The LULC changes induced changes in albedo, which influenced the radiation budget. The radiative forcings at the top of the atmosphere were −0.56 W m−2 across the whole of China, and −0.50 W m−2 over EAL. Meanwhile, the altered roughness length mainly influenced near-surface wind speeds, large-scale and upward moisture fluxes, latent heat fluxes, and cloud fractions at different altitudes. Though the impacts caused by the LULC changes were generally smaller at regional scales, the values at local scales were much stronger.