Chicago is one of the most populated cites of US. It is located next to a freshwater source, Lake Michigan, and surrounded by productive agricultural land and diverse natural habitats. This study explores the sensitivity of mesoscale urban heat island (UHI) simulations to urban parameterizations, focusing on the Chicago metropolitan area (CMA) and its environs. For this purpose, a series of climate downscaling experiments using the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model at 1 km horizontal resolution. A typical summer hot day in Chicago was considered, which is imitative of a summer day in the late 21st century. This study utilizes National Land Cover Database (NLCD) 2006 classifications to test UHI sensitivity for CMA. Among different urban parameterization schemes, BEP+BEM best reproduces the urban surface temperatures in comparison to other urban schemes. Results show that UHI is more pronounced with BEP and BEP+BEM schemes due to explicit accounting of anthropogenic heat (AH). The study also investigates the effects of urbanization on regional climate by replacing Chicago metropolitan area by agricultural landscape, which yielded increased surface wind speeds due to reduced mechanical and thermal resistance.

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