Eighth Symposium on the Urban Environment
The Energy Committee


Satellite-based approaches to determine urban characteristics: implications for NUDAPT and modeling

Steven Burian, Univ. of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT; and I. Jeyachandran, J. M. Shepherd, M. Carter, and M. Jin

This paper will review the state of the practice deriving urban canopy parameters (UCPs) for mesoscale meteorological modeling. There is a rich history of deriving urban morphological properties for use in mesoscale meteorological models. Recently, the introduction of advanced urban canopy parameterizations into the models have driven the need for updated and more extensive urban canopy parameter (UCP) datasets. In the past decade the use of three-dimensional building databases, full feature airborne LiDAR based digital elevation models (DEMs), and a range of satellite data sources have been employed to compute UCPs. In addition, the raw data have been processed by geographic information system (GIS), image processing, and other computational tools. The most recent satellite-based approaches have been tested versus the use of other derivation techniques using three-dimensional building databases and airborne LiDAR based DEMs. For the preliminary case study cities of Houston and Salt Lake City, the results suggest the newer satellite-based techniques capture the urban morphological properties well at the typical mesoscale model grid cell resolution (500-m to 1-km). The satellite techniques do not capture the very fine scale features (i.e., individual structures), but the errors are reduced significantly as the scale of the UCP calculation increases to hundreds of meters. Extension of the UCP derivation technique comparison to an analysis of WRF simulation results for Houston will also be presented, which confirm the potential of the satellite-based approaches. The paper concludes with an update of the status of NUDAPT databases and the place satellite-based UCPs have in NUDAPT, especially for eventually extending the concept beyond U.S. cities.

wrf recording  Recorded presentation

Joint Session 24, Modeling Tools for Urban and Complex Terrain Environments
Thursday, 15 January 2009, 3:30 PM-5:00 PM, Room 124A

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