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UMEP - An integrated tool for urban climatology and climate-sensitive planning applications

Conference contribution
Authors Fredrik Lindberg
CSB Grimmond
Shiho Onomura
Leena Järvi
Helen Ward
Published in ICUC9 – 9 th International Conference on Urban Climate jointly with 12th Symposium on the Environment. 20-24 July, Toulouse, France
Publication year 2015
Published at Department of Earth Sciences
Language en
Subject categories Climate Research, Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences, Physical Geography


The urban climate is influenced by processes taking place at a range of different scales. Based on application (e.g. land surface or thermal comfort modelling), the appropriate scale has to be considered to make accurate estimation of the phenomena examined. Furthermore, the interaction of processes taking place at different scales makes it important to accurately couple and understand the different scale-dependent processes controlling the urban climate and thus outdoor thermal comfort. In this paper UMEP (Urban Multi-scale Environmental Predictor), an integrated tool for urban climatology and climate sensitive planning applications is presented. The tool can be used for a variety of applications related to outdoor thermal comfort, urban energy consumption, climate change mitigation etc. UMEP combines “state of the art” 1D and 2D models related to the processes essential for scale-independent urban climate estimations. The models include SOLWEIG (Lindberg and Grimmond 2011), SUEWS (Järvi et al. 2013), BLUEWS (Onomura et al. 2014) and LUCY (Allen et al. 2011) where each individual model has been extensively evaluated. Here, the new combined system is demonstrated and evaluated. The modelling system is designed to run from the street canyon to city scale (100-105 m) depending on the application. The ranges of scales are those that need to be understood for most urban climate, architectural and/or urban planning projects. The model is able to estimate a number of variables that relate to, for example, spatial variations of urban surface energy exchanges, or boundary layer developments. The ambition is to develop a tool designed for planners and architects, which, at the same time, can be used in more advanced research applications. In order to easily use UMEP a major characteristic is the ability for a user to interact with spatial information to determine model parameters. This requires a dynamic approach where spatial data at different scales and from a variety of sources are needed. This is accomplished by using an existing application programming interface (API) for spatial data. UMEP makes use of QGIS - a cross-platform, free, open source desktop geographic information systems (GIS) application - that provides data viewing, editing and analysis capabilities. QGIS is both extendable by plugins and reducible to only the essential core features needed. Substantial advantages are offered by having GIS-software tightly coupled to the model. These include the ability to read and write a variety of geodata formats, ease of combining geodatasets so issues such as coordinate systems and scale are natively dealt with, visualization of inputs and outputs, and direct calculation of model parameters by pre-processing geodata thus reducing the number of preparation stages required and ensuring consistency between models and users.

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