Urban Effects on Climate

Here’s one to think about – it even seems obivous in retrospect. Researchers have determined that our cities are built on the most fertile lands, which is impacting the climate since that land is critical in the overall cycle of the ecosystem. It appears that our yearly 1.8 percent gain in NPP (Net Primary Productivity – a measure of plant growth based on the rate of carbon absorption) is being offset by a 1.6 percent loss due to our urban landscape. Aside from the overwhelming nature of this sort of thing (I mean, our cities really don’t cover that much of the total landmass of the country), it’s interesting to note how they were able to determine this impact using satellite data and computer modeling.