Publications — Others

Evaluating the Effects of Urbanization Evolution on Air Temperature Trends Using Nightlight Satellite Data

by Water To Food Team

Confounding factors like urbanization and land-use change could introduce uncertainty to the estimation of global temperature trends related to climate change. In this work, we introduce a new way to investigate the nexus between temporal trends of temperature and urbanization data at the global scale in the period from 1992 to 2013.

We analyze air temperature data recorded from more than 5000 weather stations worldwide and nightlight satellite measurements as a proxy for urbanization. By means of a range of statistical methods, our results quantify and outline that the temporal evolution of urbanization affects temperature trends at multiple spatial scales with
significant differences at regional and continental scales.

A statistically significant agreement in temperature and nightlight trends is detected, especially in low and middle-income regions, where urbanization is rapidly growing. Conversely, in continents such as Europe and North America,
increases in temperature trends are typically detected along with non-significant nightlight trends.