A new single-layer urban canopy model for use in mesoscale atmospheric models

Young Hee Ryu, Jong Jin Baik, Sang Hyun Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A new single-layer urban canopy model for use in mesoscale atmospheric models is developed and validated. The urban canopy model represents a built-up area as a street canyon, two facing buildings, and a road. In this model, the two facing walls are divided into sunlit and shaded walls on the basis of solar azimuth angle and canyon orientation, and individual surface temperature and energy budget are calculated for each wall. In addition, for better estimation of turbulent energy exchange within the canyon, a computational fluid dynamics model is employed to incorporate the effects of canyon aspect ratio (height-to-width ratio) and reference wind direction on canyon wind speed. The model contains the essential physical processes occurring in an urban canopy: absorption and reflection of shortwave and longwave radiation, exchanges of turbulent energy and water between surfaces (roof, two facing walls, and road) and adjacent air, and heat transfer by conduction through substrates. The developed urban canopy model is validated using datasets obtained at two urban sites: Marseille, France, and Basel, Switzerland. The model satisfactorily reproduces canyon air temperatures, surface temperatures, net radiation, sensible heat fluxes, latent heat fluxes, and storage heat fluxes for both sites. Extensive experiments are conducted to examine the sensitivities of the urban surface energy balance to meteorological factors and urban surface parameters. The reference wind speed is found to be a more crucial meteorological factor than the reference air temperature in altering urban surface energy balance, especially for weak winds. The urban surface energy balance is most sensitive to the roof albedo among urban surface parameters. The roof fraction, canyon aspect ratio, and ratio of roughness length for momentum to that for heat for the roof play important roles in altering urban surface energy balance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1773-1794
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2011 Sept

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atmospheric Science


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