Does Urban Population Predict Urban Imperviousness?

Tuesday, December 10, 2019 - 08:00
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The Shared Socioeconomic Pathways (SSP) examine how global society, demographics and economics might change over the next century, are inputs for the latest global climate models, and are a core component of developing predictive models of future earth system outcomes. The SSP narratives have been used to inform the development of fine scale gridded population projections, but few other spatially explicit datasets have been developed out of the SSP narratives. A core mechanism through which increasing population and increasing urbanization rates influence land cover and local to regional hydrology is through changes in impervious surfaces. In this study, we perform a multi-scalar analysis exploring present day and recent past relationships between population and percent impervious surfaces at 30m, 1km, and metropolitan statistical area spatial scales, and explore the temporal consistency of these patterns using historical NLCD datasets and historic gridded population datasets for the continental United States. Finally, we use the relationship developed between present day population and impervious surface to generate a fine scale projection of impervious surfaces for CONUS 2070 based on gridded population projections from the SSP narratives. This fine scale projection of impervious surface area can then be used as an input into high resolution models of surface and subsurface hydrology for future climate scenarios.

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