Seventh Annual AMS Student Conference


Behavior of WRF's boundary layer schemes and land surface models in simulations of an urban heat island

Natalie Umphlett, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE; and C. Rowe

The difference in temperature between an urban area and its rural surroundings is known as the urban heat island effect. The study of urban heat islands is critical as they pose a risk to human health, generate higher energy use which leads to greater emissions of greenhouse gases, and also increase the costs of energy. Also, as more of the world's population occupy cities, it is important to be able to provide accurate weather forecasts for those places. This study focuses on the characteristics of the urban boundary layer, the lowest portion of the atmosphere in which the effects of friction and surface temperature are significant. The Weather Research and Forecasting Model (WRF) is employed for simulations of the urban boundary layer. As shown from earlier studies, the maximum urban heat island conditions occur on clear, calm, nights. These conditions are used as initial conditions for the model. The study area is a hypothetical city, roughly the same size as Lincoln, Nebraska, with rural surroundings that are similar to southeast Nebraska as well. The differences in the evolution of the urban boundary layer and the urban plume will be examined by evaluating the performance of different combinations of boundary layer schemes and land surface models. In addition, the new urban canopy model in WRF will be evaluated in comparison to these simpler schemes.

Poster Session 1, Student Conference General Poster Session
Sunday, 20 January 2008, 5:30 PM-7:00 PM, Exhibit Hall B

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