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Any set of climatic conditions that prevails in a large metropolitan area and that differs from the climate of its rural surroundings. Urban climates are distinguished from those of less built-up areas by differences of air temperature, humidity, wind speed and direction, and amount of precipitation. These differences are attributable in large part to the altering of the natural terrain through the construction of artificial structures and surfaces. For example, tall buildings, paved streets, and parking lots affect wind flow, precipitation runoff, and the local energy balance.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on urban climate, visit Britannica.com.
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