Advanced search


Full Text:


Modern human societies have accumulated considerable power to modify their environment and the earth’s system climate as the whole. The most significant environmental changes are found in the urbanized areas. This study considers coherent changes in vegetation productivity and land surface temperature (LST) around four northern West Siberian cities, namely, Tazovsky, Nadym, Noyabrsk and Megion. These cities are located in tundra, forest-tundra, northern taiga and middle taiga bioclimatic zones correspondingly. Our analysis of 15 years (2000–2014) Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) data revealed significantly (1.3 °C to 5.2 °C) warmer seasonally averaged LST within the urbanized territories than those of the surrounding landscapes. The magnitude of the urban LST anomaly corresponds to climates found 300–600 km to the South. In the climate change perspective, this magnitude corresponds to the expected regional warming by the middle or the end of the 21st century. Warmer urban climates, and specifically warmer upper soil layers, can support re-vegetation of the disturbed urban landscapes with more productive trees and tall shrubs. This afforestation is welcome by the migrant city population as it is more consistent with their traditional ecological knowledge. Survival of atypical, southern plant species encourages a number of initiatives and investment to introduce even broader spectrum of temperate blossoming trees and shrubs in urban landscapes. The unintended changes of the urban micro-climates in combination with knowledgeable urban planning could transform the Siberian pioneer settlements into places of belonging.

About the Authors

Igor Esau
Nansen Environmental and Remote Sensing Center/Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research
Thormohlensgt. 47, 5006, Bergen

Victoria Miles
Nansen Environmental and Remote Sensing Center/Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research
Thormohlensgt. 47, 5006, Bergen


1. Archegova I.B. (2007). Thermal Regime of Tundra Soils under Reclamation and Restoration of Natural Vegetation, Eurasian Soil Science, Vol. 40, pp. 854–859.

2. Barichivich J.,Briffa K.R.,Myneni R., van der Schrier G., Dorigo W., Tucker C.J., Osborn T.J., Melvin T.M. (2014). Temperature and Snow-Mediated Moisture Controls of Summer Photosynthetic Activity in Northern Terrestrial Ecosystems between 1982 and 2011, Remote Sensing, Vol. 6, pp. 1390–1431.

3. Bartalev S.S., Kissiyar O., Achard F., Bartalev S.A., Simonetti D. (2014). Assessment of forest cover in Russia by combining a wall-to-wall coarse resolution land-cover map with a sample of 30 m resolution forest maps, International Journal of Remote Sensing, Vol. 35, pp. 2671–2692.

4. Barthel S., Folke C., Colding J. (2010). Social-ecological memory in urban gardens – Retaining the capacity for management of ecosystem services, Global Environmental Change, Vol. 20, pp. 255–265.

5. Berkes F., Colding J., Folke C. (2000). Rediscovery of Traditional Ecological Knowledge as Adaptive Management, Ecological Applications, Vol. 10, pp. 1251–1262.

6. Brown G., Raymond C. (2007). The relationship between place attachment and landscape values: Toward mapping place attachment, Applied Geography, Vol. 27, pp. 89–111.

7. Buyantuyev A., Wu J. (2010). Urban heat islands and landscape heterogeneity: linking spatiotemporal variations in surface temperatures to land-cover and socioeconomic patterns, Landscape Ecology, Vol. 25, pp. 17–33.

8. Davy R., Esau I. (2016). Differences in the efficacy of climate forcings explained by variations in atmospheric boundary layer depth, Nature Communications, Vol. 7, 11690, doi: 10.1038/ncomms11690

9. Esau I., Miles V., Miles M., Davy R., Kurchatova A. (2016). Trends in the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) associated with urban development of Northern West Siberia, Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, doi: 10.5194/acp-2016-51

10. Hebbert M. (2014). Climatology for city planning in historical perspective, Urban Climate, Vol. 10, pp. 204–215.

11. Gentine P., Entekhabi D., Polcher J. (2010). Spectral Behavior of a Coupled Land-Surface and Boundary-Layer System, Boundary-Layer Meteorology, Vol. 134, pp. 157–180.

12. Jin M., Dickinson R.E., Zhang D. (2005). The Footprint of Urban Areas on Global Climate as Characterized by MODIS, Journal of Climate, Vol. 18, pp. 1551–1565.

13. Kaltenborn B.P. (1998). Effects of sense of place on responses to environmental impacts. A study among residents in Svalbard in the Norwegian high Arctic, Applied Geography, Vol. 18, pp. 169–189.

14. Kardan O., Gozdyra P., Misic B., Moola F., Palmer L.J., Paus T., Berman M.G. (2015). Neighborhood green space and health in a large urban center, Scientific Reports, Vol. 5, doi: 10.1038/srep11610

15. Klene A.E., Nelson F.E., Hinkel K.M. (2013). Urban–rural contrasts in summer soil-surface temperature and active-layer thickness, Barrow, Alaska, USA, Polar Geography, Vol. 36, pp. 183–201.

16. Konstantinov P.I., Grishchenko M.Y., Varentsov M.I. (2015). Mapping Urban Heat Islands of Arctic Cities Using Combined Data on Field Measurements and Satellite Images Based on the Example of the City of Apatity (Murmansk Oblast), Izvestiya of the Russian Academy of Science, Atmospheric and Oceanic Physics, Vol. 51, pp. 992–998.

17. Koronatova N.G., Milyaeva E.V. (2011). Plant Community Succession in Post-Mined Quarries in the Northern-Taiga Zone of West Siberia, Contemporary Problems of Ecology, No. 4, pp. 513–518.

18. Li Y., Zhao M., Motesharrei S., Mu Q., Kalnay E., Li S. (2015). Local cooling and warming effects of forests based on satellite observations, Nature Communications, Vol. 6, 6603.

19. Li Z.-L., Tang B.-H., Wu H., Ren H., Yan G., Wan Z., TrigoI.F.,Sobrino J.A. (2013). Satellitederived land surface temperature: Current status and perspectives, Remote Sensing of Environment, Vol. 131, pp. 14–37.

20. Lloyd A.H., Yoshikawa K., Fastie C.L., Hinzman L., Fraver M. (2003). Effects of Permafrost Degradation on Woody Vegetation at Arctic Treeline on the Seward Peninsula, Alaska, Permafrost Periglacial Processes, Vol. 14, pp. 93–101.

21. Magee N., Curtis J., Wendler G. (1999). The Urban Heat Island Effect at Fairbanks, Alaska, Theoretical and Applied Climatology, Vol. 64, pp. 39–47.

22. McBride J., Douhovnikoff V. (2012). Characteristics of the urban forests in arctic and neararctic cities, Urban Forestry and Urban Greening, No. 11, pp. 113–119.

23. Meier F., Fenner D., Grassmann T., Jänicke B., Otto M., Scherer D. (2015). Challenges and benefits from crowd sourced atmospheric data for urban climate research using Berlin, Germany, as testbed. ICUC9 – 9th International Conference on Urban Climate jointly with 12th Symposium on the Urban Environment, 2015, Berlin.

24. Mishra V., Ganguly A., Nijssen B., Lettenmaier D. (2015). Changes in observed climate extremes in global urban areas, Enviromental Research Letters, Vol. 10, 024005.

25. Miles V., Esau I. (2016). Satellite record of normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) reveals contrasting trends in northern West Siberia, Environmental Research Letters, submitted.

26. Moelders N., Olson M.A. (2004). Impact of Urban Effects on Precipitation in High Latitudes, Journal of Hydrometeorology, Vol. 5, pp. 409–429.

27. Moskalenko N. (2009). Permafrost and vegetation changes in the Nadym region of West Siberian northern taiga due to the climate change and technogenesis, Earth Cryosphere, Vol. 13, pp. 18–23.

28. Nikolopoulou M., K. Steemers (2003). Thermal comfort and psychological adaptation as a guide for designing urban spaces, Energy and Buildings, Vol. 35, pp. 95–101.

29. Hinkel K.M., Nelson F.E. (2007).Anthropogenic heat island at Barrow, Alaska, during winter: 2001–2005, Journal of Geophysical Research, Vol. 112, D06118.

30. Roy S., Byrne J., Pickering C. (2012). A systematic quantitative review of urban tree benefits, costs, and assessment methods across cities in different climatic zones, Urban Forestry and Urban Greening, Vol. 11, No. 4, pp. 351–363.

31. Schwarz N., Lautenbach S., Seppelt R. (2011). Exploring indicators for quantifying surface urban heat islands of European cities with MODIS land surface temperatures, Remote Sensing of Environment, Vol. 115, pp. 3175–3186.

32. Srodnykh T.B. (2006) Ozeleneniye gorodov Tyumenskogo severa (Greening of the Tyumen northern cities) Ekaterinburg, Ural State Forest Engineering University, 139 p. (in Russian).

33. Srodnykh T.B. (2008) Rost i razvitiye pod vliyaniyem zonalnykh i intrazonalnykh faktorov drevesnykh vidov, preobladayushchikh v ozelenenii severnykh gorodov Zapadnoi Sibiri (Growth and development under the influence of zonal and intrazonal factors of woody species prevailing in urban greening of the northern cities of West Siberia). Agrarian Herald of Urals, Vol. 8, Np. 50, pp. 79–83. in Russian.

34. Stedman R.C. (2003). Is It Really Just a Social Construction?: The Contribution of the Physical Environment to Sense of Place, Society and Natural Resources, Vol. 16, pp. 671–685.

35. Stephenson J. (2008). The Cultural Values Model: An integrated approach to values in landscapes, Landscape and Urban Planning, Vol. 84, pp. 127–139.

36. Wang W., Liang S., Meyers T. (2008). Validating MODIS land surface temperature products using long-term nighttime ground measurements, Remote Sensing of Environment, Vol. 112, pp. 623–635.

37. Whyte K.P. (2013). On the role of traditional ecological knowledge as a collaborative concept: a philosophical study, Ecological Processes, Vol. 2, 7.

38. Wienert U., Kuttler W. (2005). The dependence of the urban heat island intensity on latitude – A statistical approach, Meteorologische Zeitschrift, Vol. 14, pp. 677–686.

39. Wolfe M.K., Mennis J. (2012). Does vegetation encourage or suppress urban crime? Evidence from Philadelphia, PA, Landscape and Urban Planning, Vol. 108, pp. 112–122.

40. Zrudlo L. (1988). The design of climate-adapted arctic settlements, in: J. Manty, N. Pressman (Eds.), Cities Designed for Winter, Building Book Ltd., Helsinki.


For citation:


Views: 694

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

ISSN 2071-9388 (Print)
ISSN 2542-1565 (Online)