Urban Micrometeorology

Prof Sue Grimmond’s Group

EPSRC Studentship – see below Dynamic behaviour to improve the anthropogenic heat flux processes in urban climate models Available to start now
Izzy Capel-Timms Starts PhD January 2016
Ting Sun re-joins group January 2016
NERC Case Studentship – see below Surface fluxes temperatures and boundary layer evolution at the building grey zone in London Funded Dec 2015 /start Oct 2016
Will Morrison   ACEEES Student Presentation Award Hawaii December 2015
Martin Best Successfully defended PhD November 2015
Christoph Kent WES Student Presenation Award October 2015
Will Morrison Starts PhD October 2015
Elliott Warren Starts PhD October  2015
Ben Crawford Joins group September 2015
Alex Bjorkegren ICUC9 Student Presentation Award Toulouse July 2016
Christoph Kent Starts PhD February 2015
SLUM Spectral Library of Urban Materials released March 2014
SUEWS V2014a
Papers By topic   Most recent papers

NERC Case Studentship

Surface fluxes, temperatures and boundary layer evolution at the building grey zone in London
The next generation of weather and climate models will have higher spatial resolution. Versions now under development are at 500, 330, 100 and 50 m resolution compared to the current 1.5 km used routinely by the Met Office (the so-called UKV version of the Unified Model (UM)).This greater resolution will enable conditions across cities to be resolved with important implications for forecasts and decision-making, particularly under hazardous situations. The proposed research will assess these new modelling capabilities, specifically using a network of observations in London to identify deficiencies/strengths and to work to improve their performance.In the context of cities, enhanced spatial resolution of the UKV means that the 3-dimensional nature of the urban environment has to be addressed in more detail. To do this the urban land surface model used within the UKV is being updated to include MORUSES (Met Office Reading Urban Surface Exchange Scheme, Porson et al. 2010, QJRMS) (via JULES – Joint UK Land Environment Simulator). MORUSES calculates the surface energy balance as a function of the spatially varying street canyon geometry. MORUSES uses grid scale building geometry to calculate effective roughness lengths for heat via a resistance network taking into account 3 different flow regimes in street canyons. This allows the variability of sensible heat over urban areas (well documented observationally) to be captured. MORUSES simulates fluxes of heat and momentum in the inertial sublayer at resolutions of O(1km). However, higher resolutions approach the ’building grey zone’, where large buildings/streets start to become resolved. The building greyzone problem, and larger inhomogeneity at O(100m) scales, raise questions as to whether the ’effective roughness length’ concept for heat and momentum can parametrise these exchanges, or if a vertically distributed approach to parametrise these exchanges is needed.The research proposed here aims to test MORUSES (and higher resolution models) in London for a wide range of meteorological conditions using a wide range of point and spatially representative meteorological observations drawing on data from the London Urban Meteorology Observatory (LUMO)(www.met.reading.ac.uk/micromet). . The London observational network also provides a unique opportunity to undertake 3-d model evaluation at multiple, nested scales. Data to be used include turbulent sensible heat fluxes determined by eddy covariance (EC) and scintillometry techniques; boundary layer height and cloud cover using ceilometry; and surface temperatures from fast response infra-red cameras.The studentship provides an excellent opportunity to gain skills in state of the art observations and their analysis; insights into urban land-surface schemes; and real-time assessment. This research will improve state of the art modelling in urban environments and make significant contributions to urban observational work, theory and modelling.The project will be co-supervised by Dr Sylvia Bohnenstengel (Met Office@ Reading), Dr Humphrey Lean (Met Office@ Reading), and Dr Martin Best (Met Office, Exeter).A full description of the PhD project is available at http://www.met.reading.ac.uk/pg-research/Grimmond_NERC_Case2016.pdf

 EPSRC  funded PhD Position  

Review occurring on an ongoing basis. Position to start ASAP

Modelling dynamics of energy behaviours at different scales to improve the anthropogenic heat flux processes in urban climate models

Prof. Sue Grimmond and Dr. Stefan Smith

The aim is to improve understanding of the impact of energy systems on local urban climate and the feedback of energy systems impact on spatial and temporal variations in urban climate. The project is embedded in understanding the interaction between engineered energy systems and bio-physical systems.

The project is to develop a generalized model with processes appropriate for integration into different urban land surface models that can be embedded within larger scale models and run at different scales (from city to global) to assess city, regional, and global scale implications of changes in the energy infrastructure in cities. This will draw on agent-based modelling, undertaken at the micro-scale, in order to scale-up behavioural characteristics for building energy use, transportation and other human activities from a neighbourhood/land-use up to an entire city.   Such an approach will allow new energy and transport systems to be included, along with changes in human behaviours and activities, and their impacts evaluated.


  • For each project the applicant will have an honours degree (at least 2.i or equivalent) in a scientific, engineering or relevant discipline and will have or be able to develop necessary programming skills for modelling, and data mining.
  • Funding: open to UK/EU students that meet their eligibility requirements (residence requirement) as stated http://www.epsrc.ac.uk/skills/students/help/eligibility/.



Current Past
NERC Industrial Case Studentship/RMS:  Urban gust estimates for insurance portfolio loss  EUf7 MegaPoli
EU emBRACE  Met Office International Urban Land Surface Model Comparison
Belmont/NERC TRUC - Transformation and Resilience on Urban Coasts   NERC ARSF – flights across London
Belmont/NERC Metropole -An Integrated Framework to Analyze Local Decision Making and Adaptive Capacity to Large-Scale Environmental Change: Community Case Studies in Brazil/UK/US  NERC ClearfLO
Met Office CSSP 2   Met Office CSSP 1
 USDA Forest Service
EPSRC Bridging the Gap Materials Innovation Hub: Connecting Materials Culture to Materials Science
LCCP (supported by Met Office/Lloyd's/ London Climate Change Partnership)


King’s College London (including  Estates Duncan Ede, Geography Deparment Dr Bruce Main, Dr Jiangping He)

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