Boundary-Layer Meteorology

, Volume 155, Issue 1, pp 87–109 | Cite as

Enhancing Hydrologic Modelling in the Coupled Weather Research and Forecasting–Urban Modelling System

  • Jiachuan Yang
  • Zhi-Hua WangEmail author
  • Fei Chen
  • Shiguang Miao
  • Mukul Tewari
  • James A. Voogt
  • Soe Myint


Urbanization modifies surface energy and water budgets, and has significant impacts on local and regional hydroclimate. In recent decades, a number of urban canopy models have been developed and implemented into the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model to capture urban land-surface processes. Most of these models are inadequate due to the lack of realistic representation of urban hydrological processes. Here, we implement physically-based parametrizations of urban hydrological processes into the single layer urban canopy model in the WRF model. The new single-layer urban canopy model features the integration of, (1) anthropogenic latent heat, (2) urban irrigation, (3) evaporation from paved surfaces, and (4) the urban oasis effect. The new WRF–urban modelling system is evaluated against field measurements for four different cities; results show that the model performance is substantially improved as compared to the current schemes, especially for latent heat flux. In particular, to evaluate the performance of green roofs as an urban heat island mitigation strategy, we integrate in the urban canopy model a multilayer green roof system, enabled by the physical urban hydrological schemes. Simulations show that green roofs are capable of reducing surface temperature and sensible heat flux as well as enhancing building energy efficiency.


Green roofs Hydrological modelling Regional hydroclimate Urban canopy model Urban irrigation WRF model 



This work is supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) under grant number CBET-1435881. Partial financial supports for ZHW and JY from the Central Arizona-Phoenix Long-Term Ecological Research project under NSF grant CAP3: BCS-1026865, and the Summer Visitor’s program by the National Center for Atmospheric Research are gratefully acknowledged. SM is supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China under grant No. 41175015.


  1. Arnfield AJ (2003) Two decades of urban climate research: a review of turbulence, exchanges of energy and water, and the urban heat island. Int J Climatol 23:1–26CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bateni SM, Entekhabi D (2012) Relative efficiency of land surface energy balance components. Water Resour Res 48:W04510Google Scholar
  3. Bergeron O, Strachan IB (2012) Wintertime radiation and energy budget along an urbanization gradient in Montreal, Canada. Int J Climatol 32:137–152CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Chen F, Dudhia J (2001) Coupling an advanced land surface-hydrology model with the Penn State-NCAR MM5 modeling system. Part I: Model implementation and sensitivity. Mon Weather Rev 129:569–585CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Chen F, Kusaka H, Tewari M, Bao JW, Hirakuchi H (2004) Utilizing the coupled WRF/LSM/Urban modeling system with detailed urban classification to simulate the urban heat island phenomena over the Greater Houston area. In: Fifth symposium on the urban environment, Vancouver, Canada, 23–27 August 2004Google Scholar
  6. Chen F, Kusaka H, Bornstein R, Ching J, Grimmond CSB, Grossman-Clarke S, Loridan T, Manning KW, Martilli A, Miao SG, Sailor D, Salamanca FP, Taha H, Tewari M, Wang XM, Wyszogrodzki AA, Zhang CL (2011) The integrated WRF/urban modelling system: development, evaluation, and applications to urban environmental problems. Int J Climatol 31:273–288CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Chow WT, Volo TJ, Vivoni ER, Jenerette GD, Ruddell BL (2014) Seasonal dynamics of a suburban energy balance in Phoenix, Arizona. Int J Climatol (published online). doi: 10.1002/joc.3947
  8. Diem JE, Brown DP (2003) Anthropogenic impacts on summer precipitation in central Arizona, USA. Prof Geogr 55:343–355Google Scholar
  9. Dvorak B, Volder A (2010) Green roof vegetation for North American ecoregions: a literature review. Landsc Urban Plan 96:197–213CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Field CB, Barros VR, Mach K, Mastrandrea M (2014) Climate change 2014: impacts, adaptation, and vulnerability. Working Group II Contribution to the IPCC 5th Assessment Report—Technical Summary, 76 ppGoogle Scholar
  11. Goodwin NR, Coops NC, Tooke TR, Christen A, Voogt JA (2009) Characterizing urban surface cover and structure with airborne LIDAR technology. Can J Remote Sens 35:297–309CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Grimmond CSB (1992) The suburban energy balance: methodological considerations and results for a mid-latitude west coast city under winter and spring conditions. Int J Climatol 12:481–497CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Grimmond CSB, Oke TR (1986) Urban water balance: 2. Results from a suburb of Vancouver, British Columbia. Water Resour Res 22:1404–1412CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Grimmond CSB, Blackett M, Best MJ, Barlow J, Baik JJ, Belcher SE, Bohnenstengel SI, Calmet I, Chen F, Dandou A, Fortuniak K, Gouvea ML, Hamdi R, Hendry M, Kawai T, Kawamoto Y, Kondo H, Krayenhoff ES, Lee SH, Loridan T, Martilli A, Masson V, Miao S, Oleson K, Pigeon G, Porson A, Ryu YH, Salamanca F, Shashua-Bar L, Steeneveld GJ, Tombrou M, Voogt J, Young D, Zhang N (2010) The international urban energy balance models comparison project: first results from Phase 1. J Appl Meteorol Clim 49:1268–1292CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Grimmond CSB, Blackett M, Best MJ, Baik JJ, Belcher SE, Beringer J, Bohnenstengel SI, Calmet I, Chen F, Coutts A, Dandou A, Fortuniak K, Gouvea ML, Hamdi R, Hendry M, Kanda M, Kawai T, Kawamoto Y, Kondo H, Krayenhoff ES, Lee SH, Loridan T, Martilli A, Masson V, Miao S, Oleson K, Ooka R, Pigeon G, Porson A, Ryu YH, Salamanca F, Steeneveld GJ, Tombrou M, Voogt JA, Young DT, Zhang N (2011) Initial results from Phase 2 of the international urban energy balance model comparison. Int J Climatol 31:244–272CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Hagishima A, Narita KI, Tanimoto J (2007) Field experiment on transpiration from isolated urban plants. Hydrol Process 21:1217–1222CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Johnson TD, Belitz K (2012) A remote sensing approach for estimating the location and rate of urban irrigation in semi-arid climates. J Hydrol 414:86–98CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Kusaka H, Kondo H, Kikegawa Y, Kimura F (2001) A simple single-layer urban canopy model for atmospheric models: comparison with multi-layer and slab models. Boundary-Layer Meteorol 101:329–358CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Kusaka H, Chen F, Tewari M, Dudhia J, Gill DO, Duda MG, Wang W, Miya Y (2012a) Numerical simulation of Urban Heat Island effect by the WRF Model with 4-km grid increment: an inter-comparison study between the urban canopy model and slab model. J Meteorol Soc Jpn 90B:33–45CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Kusaka H, Hara M, Takane Y (2012b) Urban climate projection by the WRF model at 3-km horizontal grid increment: dynamical downscaling and predicting heat stress in the 2070’s August for Tokyo, Osaka, and Nagoya metropolises. J Meteorol Soc Jpn 90B:47–63CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Lantz N, Wang J (2010) Land cover information extraction using high resolution satellite data in Montreal. EPiCC Technical Report No. 5, 28 pp.
  22. Lee SH, Park SU (2008) A vegetated urban canopy model for meteorological and environmental modelling. Boundary-Layer Meteorol 126:73–102CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Lemonsu A, Belair S, Mailhot J, Leroyer S (2010) Evaluation of the town energy balance model in cold and snowy conditions during the Montreal urban snow experiment 2005. J Appl Meteorol Clim 49:346–362CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Loridan T, Grimmond CSB, Grossman-Clarke S, Chen F, Tewari M, Manning K, Martilli A, Kusaka H, Best M (2010) Trade-offs and responsiveness of the single-layer urban canopy parametrization in WRF: an offline evaluation using the MOSCEM optimization algorithm and field observations. Q J R Meteorol Soc 136:997–1019CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Martilli A, Clappier A, Rotach MW (2002) An urban surface exchange parameterisation for mesoscale models. Boundary-Layer Meteorol 104:261–304CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Masson V (2000) A physically-based scheme for the urban energy budget in atmospheric models. Boundary-Layer Meteorol 94:357–397CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Mayer PW, Deoreo WBE (1999) Residential end uses of water. American Water Works Association, Denver, 310 ppGoogle Scholar
  28. Miao S, Chen F (2014) Enhanced modeling of latent heat flux from urban surfaces in the Noah/single-layer urban canopy coupled model. Sci China Earth Sci 57:2408–2416CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Miao S, Dou J, Chen F, Fan S (2012) Analysis of observations on the urban surface energy balance in Beijing. Sci China Earth Sci 55:1881–1890CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Moriwaki R, Kanda M, Senoo H, Hagishima A, Kinouchi T (2008) Anthropogenic water vapor emissions in Tokyo. Water Resour Res 44:W11424Google Scholar
  31. Myint SW, Gober P, Brazel A, Grossman-Clarke S, Weng QH (2011) Per-pixel vs. object-based classification of urban land cover extraction using high spatial resolution imagery. Remote Sens Environ 115:1145–1161CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Oke TR (1979) Advectively-assisted evapotranspiration from irrigated urban vegetation. Boundary-Layer Meteorol 17:167–173CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Oke TR (1988) The urban energy balance. Prog Phys Geog 12:471–508CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Ramamurthy P, Bou-Zeid E (2014) Contribution of impervious surfaces to urban evaporation. Water Resour Res 50:2889–2902CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Sailor DJ, Hart M (2006) An anthropogenic heating database for major US cities. In: Sixth symposium on the urban environment, Atlanta, Georgia, 28 January–3 February 2006Google Scholar
  36. Sailor DJ, Lu L (2004) A top-down methodology for developing diurnal and seasonal anthropogenic heating profiles for urban areas. Atmos Environ 38:2737–2748CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Sailor DJ, Brooks A, Hart M, Heiple S (2007) A bottom-up approach for estimating latent and sensible heat emissions from anthropogenic sources. In: Seventh symposium on the urban environment, San Diego, California, 10–13 September 2007Google Scholar
  38. Salamanca F, Krpo A, Martilli A, Clappier A (2010) A new building energy model coupled with an urban canopy parameterization for urban climate simulations-part I. formulation, verification, and sensitivity analysis of the model. Theor Appl Climatol 99:331–344CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Salamanca F, Martilli A, Tewari M, Chen F (2011) A study of the urban boundary layer using different urban parameterizations and high-resolution urban canopy parameters with WRF. J Appl Meteorol Clim 50:1107–1128CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Santamouris M (2014) Cooling the cities—a review of reflective and green roof mitigation technologies to fight heat island and improve comfort in urban environment. Sol Energy 103:682–703CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Senay GB, Budde M, Verdin JP, Melesse AM (2007) A coupled remote sensing and simplified surface energy balance approach to estimate actual evapotranspiration from irrigated fields. Sensors 7:979–1000CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Song J, Wang ZH (2014) Interfacing the urban land-atmosphere system through coupled urban canopy and atmospheric models. Boundary-Layer Meteorol (in press). doi: 10.1007/s10546-014-9980-9
  43. Sun T, Bou-Zeid E, Wang ZH, Zerba E, Ni GH (2013) Hydrological determinants of green roof performance via a vertically-resolved model for heat and water transport. Build Environ 60:211–224CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Tooke TR, Coops NC, Goodwin NR, Voogt JA (2009) Extracting urban vegetation characteristics using spectral mixture analysis and decision tree classifications. Remote Sens Environ 113:398–407CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. United Nations (2012) World urbanization prospects: the 2011 revision. The United Nations’ Department of Economic and Social Affairs—Population Division, New York, 50 ppGoogle Scholar
  46. van der Laan M, Tooke TR, Christen A, Coops N, Heyman E, Olchovski I (2011), Statistics on the built infrastructure at the Vancouver EPiCC experimental sites. EPiCC Technical Report No. 4, 30 pp.
  47. Wang ZH (2014a) Monte Carlo simulations of radiative heat exchange in a street canyon with trees. Sol Energy 110:704–713CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Wang ZH (2014b) A new perspective of urban-rural differences: the impact of soil water advection. Urban Clim 10:19–34Google Scholar
  49. Wang ZH, Bou-Zeid E, Smith JA (2011a) A spatially-analytical scheme for surface temperatures and conductive heat fluxes in urban canopy models. Boundary-Layer Meteorol 138:171–193CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Wang ZH, Bou-Zeid E, Au SK, Smith JA (2011b) Analyzing the sensitivity of WRF’s single-layer urban canopy model to parameter uncertainty using advanced Monte Carlo simulation. J Appl Meteorol Clim 50:1795–1814CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Wang ZH, Bou-Zeid E, Smith JA (2013) A coupled energy transport and hydrological model for urban canopies evaluated using a wireless sensor network. Q J R Meteorol Soc 139:1643–1657Google Scholar
  52. Wang ZX, Jiang YH, Li J, Liu WD, Wang Q (2009) On the measurement of urban boundary layer radiation of the meteorological tower in Beijing (in Chinese). Plateau Meteorol 28:20–27Google Scholar
  53. Yang J, Wang ZH (2014) Parameterization and sensitivity of urban hydrological models: application to green roof systems. Build Environ 75:250–263CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Yang J, Wang ZH, Lee TW (2013) Relative efficiency of surface energy partitioning over different land covers. Brit J Environ Clim Change 3:86–102CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Zhang CL, Chen F, Miao SG, Li QC, Xia XA, Xuan CY (2009) Impacts of urban expansion and future green planting on summer precipitation in the Beijing metropolitan area. J Geophys Res Atmos 114:D02116Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jiachuan Yang
    • 1
  • Zhi-Hua Wang
    • 1
    Email author
  • Fei Chen
    • 2
  • Shiguang Miao
    • 3
  • Mukul Tewari
    • 2
  • James A. Voogt
    • 4
  • Soe Myint
    • 5
  1. 1.School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built EnvironmentArizona State UniversityTempeUSA
  2. 2.National Center for Atmospheric ResearchBoulderUSA
  3. 3.Institute of Urban MeteorologyChina Meteorological AdministrationBeijingChina
  4. 4.Department of GeographyUniversity of Western OntarioLondonCanada
  5. 5.School of Geographical Sciences and Urban PlanningArizona State UniversityTempeUSA

Personalised recommendations