Multi-site evaluation of an urban land-surface model: intra-urban heterogeneity, seasonality and parameter complexity requirements
Loridan, T. and Grimmond, C.S.B. (2012) Multi-site evaluation of an urban land-surface model: intra-urban heterogeneity, seasonality and parameter complexity requirements. Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, 138 (665). pp. 1094-1113. ISSN 1477-870X
To link to this article DOI: 10.1002/qj.963
An extensive off-line evaluation of the Noah/Single Layer Urban Canopy Model (Noah/SLUCM) urban land-surface model is presented using data from 15 sites to assess (1) the ability of the scheme to reproduce the surface energy balance observed in a range of urban environments, including seasonal changes, and (2) the impact of increasing complexity of input parameter information. Model performance is found to be most dependent on representation of vegetated surface area cover; refinement of other parameter values leads to smaller improvements. Model biases in net all-wave radiation and trade-offs between turbulent heat fluxes are highlighted using an optimization algorithm. Here we use the Urban Zones to characterize Energy partitioning (UZE) as the basis to assign default SLUCM parameter values. A methodology (FRAISE) to assign sites (or areas) to one of these categories based on surface characteristics is evaluated. Using three urban sites from the Basel Urban Boundary Layer Experiment (BUBBLE) dataset, an independent evaluation of the model performance with the parameter values representative of each class is performed. The scheme copes well with both seasonal changes in the surface characteristics and intra-urban heterogeneities in energy flux partitioning, with RMSE performance comparable to similar state-of-the-art models for all fluxes, sites and seasons. The potential of the methodology for high-resolution atmospheric modelling application using the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model is highlighted. This analysis supports the recommendations that (1) three classes are appropriate to characterize the urban environment, and (2) that the parameter values identified should be adopted as default values in WRF.