Persistent cloud cover over mega-cities linked to surface heat release

Natalie E. Theeuwes, Janet F. Barlow, Adriaan J. Teuling, Sue B. Grimmond, Simone Kotthaus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Urban areas are a hotspot for the interactions between the built environment, its inhabitants, and weather. Unlike the impact of temperatures through the well-known urban heat island effect, urban effects on cloud formation remain unknown. In this study we show observational evidence of a systematic enhancement of cloud cover in the afternoon and evening over two large metropolitan areas in Europe (Paris and London). Long-term measurements in and around London show that during late-spring and summer, even though less moisture is available at the surface and the atmosphere is drier, low clouds can persist longer over the urban area as vertical mixing of the available moisture is maintained for a longer period of time, into the evening transition. Our findings show that urban impacts on weather extend beyond temperature effects. These prolonged clouds over the city might enhance the urban heat island via night-time radiative forcing.
Original languageEnglish
Article number15
Journalnpj Climate and Atmospheric Science
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 24 May 2019

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