Urbanization: Impacts on clouds, precipitation, and lightning

J. M. Shepherd, J. A. Stallins, M. L. Jin, T. L. Mote

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

11 Citations (SciVal)


Precipitation variability and water cycle changes affect many components of the Earth’s natural and human system. Further, it is clear that natural and anthropogenic activities can perturb key components of the hydrological cycle. Understanding and quantifying such changes is vital for a range of meteorological, hydrological, ecological, and climate problems. In an era of heightened sensitivity concerning climate change, the primary discussion of cloud-precipitation variability has been linked to greenhouse gas emissions. Scientific literature has presented theories and observational studies describing how urbanization influences convective processes and cumulative precipitation. The urban environment’s (i.e., its land use, aerosols, thermal properties) impact on precipitation will be increasingly vital to climate diagnostics and prediction, global water and energy cycle assessment and prediction, weather forecasting, freshwater resource management, agriculture, and urban planning. This chapter presents a contemporary review of findings and methods related to urban effects on precipitation and related convective processes, particularly lightning. Herein, we present historical and current literature, prevailing hypotheses, critical analysis of challenges facing the research topic, and recommendations for the future.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationUrban Ecosystem Ecology
Number of pages28
ISBN (Electronic)9780891181811
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2010 by American Society of Agronomy, Inc., Crop Science Society of America, Inc., Soil Science Society of America, Inc.


  • Cloud condensation nuclei
  • Human-natural system
  • Lightning
  • Rban precipitation
  • Urban convection
  • Urbanization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering (all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (all)


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