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Machine learning emulation of urban land surface processes

Meyer, D. ORCID:, Grimmond, S. ORCID:, Dueben, P. ORCID:, Hogan, R. ORCID: and Reeuwijk, M. ORCID: (2022) Machine learning emulation of urban land surface processes. Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems, 14 (3). e2021MS002744. ISSN 1942-2466

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1029/2021MS002744


Can we improve the modeling of urban land surface processes with machine learning (ML)? A prior comparison of urban land surface models (ULSMs) found that no single model is ‘best’ at predicting all common surface fluxes. Here, we develop an urban neural network (UNN) trained on the mean predicted fluxes from 22 ULSMs at one site. The UNN emulates the mean output of ULSMs accurately. When compared to a reference ULSM (Town Energy Balance; TEB), the UNN has greater accuracy relative to flux observations, less computational cost, and requires fewer input parameters. When coupled to the Weather Research Forecasting (WRF) model using TensorFlow bindings, WRF-UNN is stable and more accurate than the reference WRF-TEB. Although the application is currently constrained by the training data (1 site), we show a novel approach to improve the modeling of surface fluxes by combining the strengths of several ULSMs into one using ML.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:103329


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