The “urban meteorology island”: a multi-model ensemble analysis

Karlický, Jan; Huszár, Peter; Nováková, Tereza; Belda, Michal; Švábik, Filip; Ďoubalová, Jana; Halenka, Tomáš

Cities and urban areas are well-known for their impact on meteorological variables and thereby modification of the local climate. Our study aims to generalize the urban-induced changes in specific meteorological variables by introducing a single phenomenon – the urban meteorology island (UMI). A wide ensemble of 24 model simulations with the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) regional climate model and the Regional Climate Model (RegCM) on a European domain with 9 km horizontal resolution were performed to investigate various urban-induced modifications as individual components of the UMI. The results show that such an approach is meaningful, because in nearly all meteorological variables considered, statistically significant changes occur in cities. Besides previously documented urban-induced changes in temperature, wind speed and boundary-layer height, the study is also focused on changes in cloud cover, precipitation and humidity. An increase in cloud cover in cities, together with a higher amount of sub-grid-scale precipitation, is detected on summer afternoons. Specific humidity is significantly lower in cities. Further, the study shows that different models and parameterizations can have a strong impact on discussed components of the UMI. Multi-layer urban schemes with anthropogenic heat considered increase winter temperatures by more than 2 inline-formulaC and reduce wind speed more strongly than other urban models. The selection of the planetary-boundary-layer scheme also influences the urban wind speed reduction, as well as the boundary-layer height, to the greatest extent. Finally, urban changes in cloud cover and precipitation are mostly sensitive to the parameterization of convection.

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Karlický, Jan / Huszár, Peter / Nováková, Tereza / et al: The “urban meteorology island”: a multi-model ensemble analysis. 2020. Copernicus Publications.

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