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California mansions burn as wildfire spreads + More likely to rain in circular cities

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Mansions burn in California as coastal wildfire spreads

INTRO: A fire in Laguna Niguel, California, has burned through 200 acres and several multimillion-dollar homes since it started on May 11. The cause of the Coastal Fire, which is burning just a few miles southeast of Laguna Beach, has yet to be determined.

According to a May 13 update from the Orange County Fire Authority on Twitter, 31 homes have been damaged or destroyed, and the fire was 15% contained. CNN reports that over 900 homes were under evacuation orders, citing the Orange County Fire Authority Assistant Chief of Field Operations TJ McGovern.

California is entering its wildfire season on the heels of an incredibly dry start to the year, worrying officials, as dry conditions coupled with heatwaves can help wildfires spread more easily... (MORE - details)

It’s more likely to rain on you in a circular city than a square or triangular one

INTRO: Triangular cities appear to experience the least amount of rain compared to square or circular ones, a new study has found. The authors behind it believe the way wind and weather interact with shape in city environments could be a consideration when designing the urban spaces of the future which will need to be more tolerant to the effects of the climate crisis... (MORE)
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Impacts of City Shape on Rainfall in Inland and Coastal Environments

ABSTRACT: Urbanization manifests rainfall anomalies both in and around the city. While prior studies have assessed the effect of urban expansion as well as city size, little is known about the impact of city shape on rainfall. Here, idealized large eddy simulations coupled with the Weather Research and Forecasting model are conducted to bridge the knowledge gap. Results indicate differences in the timing for urban-induced rainfall in the inland versus coastal environment. This is associated with contrasting diurnal cycles of vertical velocity and cloud water mixing ratio driven by the land-sea breeze. The impact of city shape on rainfall is more evident in the coastal environment, as buoyancy flows arise from cities alter the interactions between urban-rural circulation and sea breeze. A circular city shows nearly 22.0% larger rainfall accumulation and 78.6% greater rainfall intensity compared to a triangular city over urban surfaces. The rainfall anomaly is caused by different urban-rural circulations over various city shapes. The strong low-level convergence over circular cities favors efficient upward moisture transport and deep convection. Results highlight the need for considering city shape for coastal urban planning, as a potential adaptation strategy to manage rainfall under future climate. The coarse-resolution climate models that represent the impervious surface area but not the right shape would have a higher uncertainty in simulating rainfall changes.

PLAIN LANGUAGE SUMMARY: Intense rainfall over cities is of a great concern under future climate, but little is known about the impact of city shape. This study provides the first investigation of the impact of city shape on urban rainfall in inland and coastal environments. Under calm synoptic conditions, the city shape impact is much more evident in coastal environments. City shape ranked by the rainfall amount and intensity in order from the largest to the smallest is: circular city, square city, and triangular city. The finding is valuable for sustainable and resilient city planning especially for those undergoing expansion. (MORE - the research paper)

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