International Urban Energy Balance Model Comparison

Urban Model Comparison Questionnaire


The aim of this project is to evaluate numerical models to simulate heat fluxes by performing a multi-step model comparison of urban surface energy balance schemes with observational datasets. This will consist of leading a four-step study, where the forcing data are released in a controlled and systematic way.


There has been a rapid increase in the number of land-atmosphere exchange models which explicitly parameterize urban surfaces. The models are being developed for a wide range of purposes, which includes improved weather forecasting, climate predictions, air quality forecasting and assessment of the impact of mitigation strategies.

Given that a number of models have now been developed, our objective is to investigate questions such as: do the models produce physically realistic simulations of urban heat exchange; how complex do parameterizations of heat exchange need to be; and to quantify costs (computer time, data requirements) versus the benefits (improvement in model prediction).


The methodology established by the Project for Intercomparison of Land-Surface Parameterization Schemes (PILPS) is adopted here (Henderson-Sellers et al. 1993). Initially participants were provided with very limited information about the chosen site(s) apart from the forcing variables. Then in subsequent runs, more information will be provided to ensure that a controlled experiment is achieved. The methodology described here has been endorsed by the GLASS panel (who coordinate the PILPS experiments) in September 2005, and they are committed to a regular review of the project.


Grimmond CSB, M Blackett, MJ Best, J-J Baik, SE Belcher, J Beringer, SI Bohnenstengel, I Calmet, F Chen, A Coutts, A Dandou, K Fortuniak, ML Gouvea, R Hamdi, M Hendry, M Kanda, T Kawai, Y Kawamoto, H Kondo, ES Krayenhoff, S-H Lee, T Loridan, A Martilli, V Masson S Miao, K Oleson, R Ooka, G Pigeon, A Porson, Y-H Ryu, F Salamanca, G-J Steeneveld, M Tombrou, JA Voogt, D Young, N Zhang (2011) Initial Results from Phase 2 of the International Urban Energy Balance Comparison Project, International Journal of Climatology 31:244–272 DOI: 10.1002/joc.2227 pdf

Grimmond CSB, M Blackett, M Best, J Barlow, JJ Baik, S Belcher, SI Bohnenstengel, I Calmet, F Chen, A Dandou, K Fortuniak, ML Gouvea, R Hamdi, M Hendry, T Kawai, Y Kawamoto, H Kondo, ES Krayenhoff, SH Lee, T Loridan, A Martilli, V Masson, S Miao, K Oleson, G Pigeon, A Porson, YH Ryu, F Salamanca, GJ Steeneveld, M Tombrou, J Voogt, D Young, N Zhang (2010) The International Urban Energy Balance Models Comparison Project: First results from Phase 1 Journal of Applied Meteorology & Climatology, 49, 1268-92, doi: 10.1175/2010JAMC2354.1 pdf

Grimmond CSB, M Best, J Barlow and AJ Arnfield J-J Baik, S Belcher, M Bruse, I Calmet, F Chen, P Clark, A Dandou, E Erell, K Fortuniak, R Hamdi, M Kanda, T Kawai, H Kondo, S Krayenhoff, SH Lee, S-B Limor, A Martilli, V Masson, S Miao, G Mills, R Moriwaki, K Oleson, A Porson, U Sievers, M Tombrou, J Voogt, T Williamson. (2009) Urban surface energy balance models: model characteristics and methodology for a comparison study. in Urbanization of Meteorological and Air Quality Models, (eds) Baklanov A, CSB Grimmond, A Mahura, M Athanassiadou Springer-Verlag, ISBN: 978-3-642-00297-7, 97-123.


Model Classification (final version is in JAMC paper)


Additional information for participants



. Funded (Grimmond) by the Met Office (P001550), European Union Framework7 (7FP7-
ENV-2007-1): MEGAPOLI(212520), BRIDGE(211345).

Contribution to COST728 (Enhancing mesoscale meteorological modeling capabilities fo air pollution and dispersion applications).

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