Urban adaptation can roll back warming of emerging megapolitan regions

Conversion to urban landforms has consequences for regional climate and the many inhabitants living within the built environment. The purpose of our investigation was to explore hydroclimatic impacts of 21st century urban expansion across the United States and examine the efficacy of commonly proposed urban adaptation strategies in context of long-term global climate change. We show that, in the absence of any adaptive urban design, urban expansion across the United States imparts warming over large regional swaths of the country that is a significant fraction of anticipated temperature increases resulting from greenhouse gas-induced warming. Adapting to urban-induced climate change is geographically dependent, and the robust analysis that we present offers insights into optimal approaches and anticipated tradeoffs associated with varying expansion pathways.

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