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Meteorological forcing data for urban outdoor thermal comfort models from a coupled convective boundary layer and surface energy balance scheme

Journal article
Authors Shiho Onomura
C. S. B. Grimmond
Fredrik Lindberg
Björn Holmer
Sofia Thorsson
Published in Urban Climate
Volume 11
Pages 1-23
ISSN 2212-0955
Publication year 2015
Published at Department of Earth Sciences
Pages 1-23
Language en
Keywords Boundary layer, Urban land surface model, Surface energy balance, Outdoor thermal comfort
Subject categories Physical Geography, Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences


Site-specific meteorological forcing appropriate for applications such as urban outdoor thermal comfort simulations can be obtained using a newly coupled scheme that combines a simple slab convective boundary layer (CBL) model and urban land surface model (ULSM) (here two ULSMs are considered). The former simulates daytime CBL height, air temperature and humidity, and the latter estimates urban surface energy and water balance fluxes accounting for changes in land surface cover. The coupled models are tested at a suburban site and two rural sites, one irrigated and one unirrigated grass, in Sacramento, U.S.A. All the variables modelled compare well to measurements (e.g. coefficient of determination = 0.97 and root mean square error = 1.5 °C for air temperature). The current version is applicable to daytime conditions and needs initial state conditions for the CBL model in the appropriate range to obtain the required performance. The coupled model allows routine observations from distant sites (e.g. rural, airport) to be used to predict air temperature and relative humidity in an urban area of interest. This simple model, which can be rapidly applied, could provide urban data for applications such as air quality forecasting and building energy modelling, in addition to outdoor thermal comfort.

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