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Keywords:

  • urban warming;
  • urban temperature;
  • urban heat island;
  • temperature trend;
  • Japan

Abstract

This article briefly reviews urban warming studies in Japan, where many of the stations established by the beginning of the 20th century are located in cities that have undergone rapid industrialization. The recorded rate of temperature increase is a few degrees per century in large cities and tends to be larger at night than during the daytime. In some cities, the increase in annual extreme minimum temperature exceeds 10 °C century−1. On the other hand, recent numerical studies have revealed widespread urban warming around Tokyo and other megacities during afternoons of the warm season as a result of extensive urbanization that enhances daytime surface heating. An analysis using data from the dense Automated Meteorological Data Acquisition System network has shown that an urban bias in recent temperature trends is detectable not only in densely inhabited areas but also at slightly urbanized sites with 100–300 people km−2, indicating the need for careful assessment of the background climate change. There is also some evidence of microscale effects on observed temperature, as revealed by an analysis of the relationship between trends in temperature and wind speed. Copyright © 2010 Royal Meteorological Society