Boundary-Layer Meteorology

, Volume 147, Issue 3, pp 493–523

High Resolution Simulation of the Variability of Surface Energy Balance Fluxes Across Central London with Urban Zones for Energy Partitioning


  • Thomas Loridan
    • Department of GeographyKing’s College London
    • Department of Earth SciencesRisk Management Solutions, RMS
  • Fredrik Lindberg
    • Department of GeographyKing’s College London
    • Department of Earth SciencesUniversity of Gothenburg
  • Oriol Jorba
    • Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC)
  • Simone Kotthaus
    • Department of GeographyKing’s College London
  • Susanne Grossman-Clarke
    • Global Institute of SustainabilityArizona State University
    • Potsdam-Institute for Climate Impact Research
    • Department of GeographyKing’s College London

DOI: 10.1007/s10546-013-9797-y

Cite this article as:
Loridan, T., Lindberg, F., Jorba, O. et al. Boundary-Layer Meteorol (2013) 147: 493. doi:10.1007/s10546-013-9797-y


The parameterization of surface heat-flux variability in urban areas relies on adequate representation of surface characteristics. Given the horizontal resolutions (e.g. \(\approx \)0.1–1 km) currently used in numerical weather prediction (NWP) models, properties of the urban surface (e.g. vegetated/built surfaces, street-canyon geometries) often have large spatial variability. Here, a new approach based on Urban Zones to characterize Energy partitioning (UZE) is tested within a NWP model (Weather Research and Forecasting model; WRF v3.2.1) for Greater London. The urban land-surface scheme is the Noah/Single-Layer Urban Canopy Model (SLUCM). Detailed surface information (horizontal resolution 1 km) in central London shows that the UZE offers better characterization of surface properties and their variability compared to default WRF-SLUCM input parameters. In situ observations of the surface energy fluxes and near-surface meteorological variables are used to select the radiation and turbulence parameterization schemes and to evaluate the land-surface scheme and choice of surface parameters. For radiative fluxes, improved performance (e.g. \(>\)25 W m\(^{-2}\) root-mean-square error reduction for the net radiation) is attained with UZE parameters compared to the WRF v3.2.1 default for all three methods from the simplest to the most detailed. The UZE-based spatial fluxes reproduce a priori expectations of greater energy storage and less evaporation in the dense city centre compared to the residential surroundings. Problems in Noah/SLUCM partitioning of energy between the daytime turbulent fluxes are identified with the overestimation of the turbulent sensible heat and underestimation of the turbulent latent heat fluxes.


Land-surface parameterizationLondonSpatial variabilityUrban canopy modelUrban energy fluxesUrban Zones for Energy partitioningWeather Research and Forecasting model

Supplementary material

10546_2013_9797_MOESM1_ESM.docx (221 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (docx 221 KB)

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013