Urbanization, a direct consequence of land use and land cover change, is responsible for significant modification of local to regional scale climates. It is projected that the greatest urban growth of this century will occur in urban areas in the developing world. In addition, there is a significant research gap in emerging nations concerning this topic. Thus, this research focuses on the assessment of climate impacts related to urbanization on the largest metropolitan area in Latin America: Mexico City.
Numerical simulations using a state-of-the-science regional climate model are utilized to address a trio of scientifically relevant questions with wide global applicability. The importance of an accurate representation of land use and land cover is first demonstrated through comparison of numerical simulations against observations. Second, the simulated effect of anthropogenic heating is quantified. Lastly, numerical simulations are performed using pre-historic scenarios of land use and land cover to examine and quantify the impact of Mexico City's urban expansion and changes in surface water features on its regional climate.