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Publication Date
26 October 2023

Urban land patterns can moderate population exposures to climate extremes over the 21st century



Climate change and global urbanization have often been anticipated to increase future population exposure (frequency and intensity) to extreme weather over the coming decades. Here we examine how changes in urban land extent, population, and climate will respectively and collectively affect spatial patterns of future population exposures to climate extremes (including hot days, cold days, heavy rainfalls, and severe thunderstorm environments) across the continental U.S. at the end of the 21st century. Different from common impressions, we find that urban land patterns can sometimes reduce rather than increase population exposures to climate extremes, even heat extremes, and that spatial patterns instead of total quantities of urban land are more influential to population exposures. Our findings lead to preliminary suggestions for embedding long-term climate resilience in urban and regional land-use system designs, and strongly motivate searches for optimal spatial urban land patterns that can robustly moderate population exposures to climate extremes throughout the 21st century.

Gao, Jing, and Melissa S. Bukovsky. 2023. “Urban Land Patterns Can Moderate Population Exposures To Climate Extremes Over The 21St Century”. Nature Communications 14. doi:10.1038/s41467-023-42084-x.
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