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Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 13, issue 17
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 13, 8525–8541, 2013
© Author(s) 2013. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 13, 8525–8541, 2013
© Author(s) 2013. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research article 02 Sep 2013

Research article | 02 Sep 2013

The diurnal evolution of the urban heat island of Paris: a model-based case study during Summer 2006

H. Wouters1,2, K. De Ridder1, M. Demuzere2, D. Lauwaet1, and N. P. M. van Lipzig2 H. Wouters et al.
  • 1VITO, Flemish Institute for Technological Research, Department of Environmental and Atmospheric Modelling, Mol, Belgium
  • 2KU Leuven, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Leuven, Belgium

Abstract. The urban heat island (UHI) over Paris during summer 2006 was simulated using the Advanced Regional Prediction System (ARPS) updated with a simple urban parametrization at a horizontal resolution of 1 km. Two integrations were performed, one with the urban land cover of Paris and another in which Paris was replaced by cropland. The focus is on a five-day clear-sky period, for which the UHI intensity reaches its maximum. The diurnal evolution of the UHI intensity was found to be adequately simulated for this five day period. The maximum difference at night in 2 m temperature between urban and rural areas stemming from the urban heating is reproduced with a relative error of less than 10%. The UHI has an ellipsoidal shape and stretches along the prevailing wind direction. The maximum UHI intensity of 6.1 K occurs at 23:00 UTC located 6 km downstream of the city centre and this largely remains during the whole night. An idealized one-column model study demonstrates that the nocturnal differential sensible heat flux, even though much smaller than its daytime value, is mainly responsible for the maximum UHI intensity. The reason for this nighttime maximum is that additional heat is only affecting a shallow layer of 150 m. An air uplift is explained by the synoptic east wind and a ramp upwind of the city centre, which leads to a considerable nocturnal adiabatic cooling over cropland. The idealized study demonstrates that the reduced vertical adiabatic cooling over the city compared to cropland induces an additional UHI build-up of 25%. The UHI and its vertical extent is affected by the boundary-layer stability, nocturnal low-level jet as well as radiative cooling. Therefore, improvements of representing these boundary-layer features in atmospheric models are important for UHI studies.

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