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3D modelling of vegetation within a 2D model – evaluation and application

Conference contribution
Authors Fredrik Lindberg
C.S.B. Grimmond
Published in The Eight International Conference on Urban Climates.
Issue abstract nr 180
Publication year 2012
Published at Department of Earth Sciences
Language en
Keywords SOLWEIG, digital surface models, mean radiant temperature, LiDAR, urban morphology, London, Göteborg
Subject categories Climate Research, Physical Geography, Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences


The SOlar and LongWave Environmental Irradiance Geometry (SOLWEIG) model simulates spatial variations of 3D radiation fluxes and mean radiant temperature (Tmrt) as well as shadow patterns in complex urban settings. Here, a new vegetation scheme is presented and evaluated. A new shadow casting algorithm for complex vegetation structures makes it possible to obtain continuous images of shadow patterns and sky view factors taking both buildings and vegetation into account. The model is evaluated using 5 days of integral radiation measurements at two sites within a square surrounded by low-rise buildings and vegetation in Göteborg, Sweden (57°N). There is good agreement between modelled and observed values of Tmrt. Furthermore, SOLWEIG is used to examine vegetation and building morphology characteristics through a north-south LiDAR transect across the megacity of London. It is shown that the contribution of vegetation to the shadowing and reduction of Tmrt at ground level is higher during summer than in autumn. The results from these simulations highlight that vegetation can be most effective at reducing heat stress within dense urban environments in summer. The daytime average Tmrt is found to be lowest in the densest urban environments due to shadowing; foremost from buildings but also from trees. It is clearly shown that this method could be used to quantify the influence of vegetation on Tmrt within the urban environment. The results presented in this paper highlight a number of possible climate sensitive planning practices for urban areas at the local scale.

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