Articles | Volume 18, issue 14
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 18, 10655–10674, 2018
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 18, 10655–10674, 2018

Research article 26 Jul 2018

Research article | 26 Jul 2018

Multi-model comparison of urban heat island modelling approaches

Jan Karlický, Peter Huszár, Tomáš Halenka, Michal Belda, Michal Žák, Petr Pišoft, and Jiří Mikšovský Jan Karlický et al.
  • Department of Atmospheric Physics, Faculty of Mathematics and Physics, Charles University, V Holešovičkách 2, 180 00 Prague 8, Czech Republic

Abstract. Cities are characterized by different physical properties of surface compared to their rural counterparts, resulting in a specific regime of the meteorological phenomenon. Our study aims to evaluate the impact of typical urban surfaces on the central European urban climate in several model simulations, performed with the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model and Regional Climate Model (RegCM). The specific processes occurring in the typical urban environment are described in the models by various types of urban parameterizations, greatly differing in complexity. Our results show that all models and urban parameterizations are able to reproduce the most typical urban effect, the summer evening and nocturnal urban heat island, with the average magnitude of 2–3 °C. The impact of cities on the wind is clearly dependent on the urban parameterization employed, with more simple ones unable to fully capture the wind speed reduction induced by the city. In the summer, a significant difference in the boundary-layer height (about 25 %) between models is detected. The urban-induced changes of temperature and wind speed are propagated into higher altitudes up to 2 km, with a decreasing tendency of their magnitudes. With the exception of the daytime in the summer, the urban environment improves the weather conditions a little with regard to the pollutant dispersion, which could lead to the partly decreased concentration of the primary pollutants.

Short summary
Our work presents a comparison of modelled and observed urban-induced meteorological changes in long-term perspective using 10-year simulations. It contains an evaluation of models' urban parameterizations, investigations of the benefits of more sophisticated urban parameterizations with respect to simple approaches and evaluation of urban-induced meteorological changes from the perspective of pollutant dispersion.
Final-revised paper