The current resolution of operational weather forecast model is not sufficient in general to explicitly resolve even the major cities of the World. As a consequence, urban areas have traditionally been neglected in such models. The introduction of tiled land surface models has enabled sub-gridscale landuse to be modelled, and hence has provided the opportunity to model cities within weather forecast models. However, to date there has been little effort made within the operational weather forecast community.
At present there is only one operational centre that explicitly resolves urban areas. This centre includes a simple urban scheme within its mesoscale and global models, which has been shown to have a positive impact on the forecast. However, with the recent developments within urban meteorology there are now a variety of urban schemes, which vary in their complexity and parameter requirements, that would be suitable for operational weather forecast models. So it is likely that more operational models, and in particular mesoscale models, will include urban areas in the near future.
With the majority of the World‘s population living in cities, the resilience of these cities to the impacts of climate change is also becoming of increasing interest. This means that urban areas will have to be included within climate change simulations, as well as weather forecast simulations, in the future. At present, only one climate change model has included a parametrisation for urban areas. However, this is likely to increase if work in this area grows rapidly.