Projecting population growth as a dynamic measure of regional urban warming

Chenghao Wang, Zhihua Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Urban development is characterized by drastic land use and land cover changes, rooted in urban population growth, with concomitant anthropogenic stressors contributing to global climate changes. While there is extensive literature on predicting future urban climate using biogeophysical models, the direct link between emergent meteorological patterns and the population dynamics remains obscure. In this study, we propose an operative model for predicting regional urban warming using a population growth model based on different scaling laws. We choose the annual average air temperature as the climatic indicator and relate the historical temperature data to demographic data for 10 megapolitan areas in the United States. Linear regression analysis shows that the coefficients of determination range from 0.164 to 0.563 for the study areas, indicating a significant correlation between urban population and climate dynamics. Specifically, the Phoenix Metropolitan Area is selected as a testbed where the regression is applied for correlating the population growth and trend of urban warming. Based on the predicted population dynamics, the annual average temperature in Phoenix is projected to increase by 0.65–3.40 °C in the next 35 years.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)357-365
Number of pages9
JournalSustainable Cities and Society
StatePublished - Jul 1 2017


  • Climate change
  • Population model
  • Sustainability
  • Urban expansion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Transportation


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