Geography & Environment Publications

Urban Surface Energy Balance Models: Model Characteristics and Methodology for a Comparison Study

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Book Chapter

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Many urban surface energy balance models now exist. These vary in complexity from simple schemes that represent the city as a concrete slab, to those which incorporate detailed representations of momentum and energy fluxes distributed within the atmospheric boundary layer. While many of these schemes have been evaluated against observations, with some models even compared with the same data sets, such evaluations have not been undertaken in a controlled manner to enable direct comparison. For other types of climate model, for instance the Project for Intercomparison of Land-Surface Parameterization Schemes (PILPS) experiments (Henderson-Sellers et al., 1993), such controlled comparisons have been shown to provide important insights into both the mechanics of the models and the physics of the real world. This paper describes the progress that has been made to date on a systematic and controlled comparison of urban surface schemes. The models to be considered, and their key attributes, are described, along with the methodology to be used for the evaluation.


Published as a book chapter in: Meteorological and Air Quality Models for Urban Areas. Alexander Baklanov, Grimmond Sue, Mahura Alexander, and Maria Athanassiadou. (Eds.).