Boundary-Layer Meteorology

, Volume 114, Issue 1, pp 91–109

Representing urban areas within operational numerical weather prediction models


  • M. J. Best
    • Met OfficeJoint Centre for Hydrometeorological Research

DOI: 10.1007/s10546-004-4834-5

Cite this article as:
Best, M.J. Boundary-Layer Meteorol (2005) 114: 91. doi:10.1007/s10546-004-4834-5


A new parametrization for the surface energy balance of urban areas is presented. It is shown that this new method can represent some of the important urban phenomena, such as an urban heat island and the occurrence of a near-neutral nocturnal boundary layer with associated positive turbulent heat fluxes, unlike the traditional method for representing urban areas within operational numerical weather prediction (NWP) models. The basis of the new parametrization is simple and can be applied easily within an operational NWP model. Also, it has no additional computational expense compared to the traditional scheme and is hence applicable for operational forecasting requirements. The results show that the errors for London within the Met Office operational mesoscale model have been significantly reduced since the new scheme was introduced. The bias and root-mean-square (rms) errors have been approximately halved, with the rms error now similar to the model as a whole. The results also show that a seasonal cycle still exists in the model errors, but it is suggested that this may be caused by anthropogenic heat sources that are neglected in the urban scheme.


Numerical weather prediction Operational model Urban areas

Copyright information

© Springer 2005