Boundary-Layer Meteorology

, Volume 118, Issue 3, pp 503–525

Evaluation of the Urban Tile in MOSES using Surface Energy Balance Observations

  • M. J. Best
  • C. S. B. Grimmond
  • Maria Gabriella Villani

DOI: 10.1007/s10546-005-9025-5

Cite this article as:
Best, M.J., Grimmond, C.S.B. & Villani, M.G. Boundary-Layer Meteorol (2006) 118: 503. doi:10.1007/s10546-005-9025-5


The UK Met Office has introduced a new scheme for its urban tile in MOSES 2.2 (Met Office Surface Exchange Scheme version 2.2), which is currently implemented within the operational Met Office weather forecasting model. Here, the performance of the urban tile is evaluated in two urban areas: the historic core of downtown Mexico City and a light industrial site in Vancouver, Canada. The sites differ in terms of building structures and mean building heights. In both cases vegetation cover is less than 5%. The evaluation is based on surface energy balance flux measurements conducted at approximately the blending height, which is the location where the surface scheme passes flux data into the atmospheric model. At both sites, MOSES 2.2 correctly simulates the net radiation, but there are discrepancies in the partitioning of turbulent and storage heat fluxes between predicted and observed values. Of the turbulent fluxes, latent heat fluxes were underpredicted by about one order of magnitude. Multiple model runs revealed MOSES 2.2 to be sensitive to changes in the canopy heat storage and in the ratio between the aerodynamic roughness length and that for heat transfer (temperature). Model performance was optimum with heat capacity values smaller than those generally considered for these sites. The results suggest that the current scheme is probably too simple, and that improvements may be obtained by increasing the complexity of the model.


Model evaluationSensitivity analysisSurface schemeUrban energy balance

Copyright information

© Springer Science 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. J. Best
    • 1
  • C. S. B. Grimmond
    • 2
  • Maria Gabriella Villani
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.Joint Centre for Hydro-Meteorological ResearchMet OfficeWallingfordU.K
  2. 2.Atmospheric Science Program, Department of GeographyIndiana UniversityBloomingtonU.S.A
  3. 3.ISAC – CNRBolognaItaly
  4. 4.Environmental Science FacultyUniversity of UrbinoUrbinoItaly