Key conclusions of the first international urban land surface model comparison project
Best, M. J. and Grimmond, C. S. B. (2015) Key conclusions of the first international urban land surface model comparison project. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 96 (5). pp. 805-819. ISSN 1520-0477
To link to this article DOI: 10.1175/BAMS-D-14-00122.1
he first international urban land surface model comparison was designed to identify three aspects of the urban surface-atmosphere interactions: (1) the dominant physical processes, (2) the level of complexity required to model these, and 3) the parameter requirements for such a model. Offline simulations from 32 land surface schemes, with varying complexity, contributed to the comparison. Model results were analysed within a framework of physical classifications and over four stages. The results show that the following are important urban processes; (i) multiple reflections of shortwave radiation within street canyons, (ii) reduction in the amount of visible sky from within the canyon, which impacts on the net long-wave radiation, iii) the contrast in surface temperatures between building roofs and street canyons, and (iv) evaporation from vegetation. Models that use an appropriate bulk albedo based on multiple solar reflections, represent building roof surfaces separately from street canyons and include a representation of vegetation demonstrate more skill, but require parameter information on the albedo, height of the buildings relative to the width of the streets (height to width ratio), the fraction of building roofs compared to street canyons from a plan view (plan area fraction) and the fraction of the surface that is vegetated. These results, whilst based on a single site and less than 18 months of data, have implications for the future design of urban land surface models, the data that need to be measured in urban observational campaigns, and what needs to be included in initiatives for regional and global parameter databases.