Evaluation of the vegetated urban canopy model (VUCM) and its impacts on urban boundary layer simulation
The vegetated urban canopy model (VUCM) is implemented in a meteorological model, the Regional Atmospheric Modeling System (RAMS), for urban atmospheric modeling. The VUCM includes various urban physical processes such as in-canyon radiative transfer, turbulent energy exchanges, substrate heat conduction, and in-canyon momentum drag. The coupled model RAMS/VUCM is evaluated and then used to examine its impacts on the dynamic and thermodynamic structure of the urban boundary layer (UBL) in the Seoul metropolitan area. The spatial pattern of the nocturnal urban heat island (UHI) in Seoul is quite well simulated by the RAMS/VUCM. A statistical evaluation of 2-m air temperature reveals a significant improvement in model performance, especially in the nighttime. The RAMS/VUCM simulates the diurnal variations of surface energy balance fluxes realistically. This contributes to a reasonable UBL formation. A weakly unstable UBL is formed in the nighttime with UBL heights of about 100–200 m. When urban surfaces are represented in the RAMS using a land surface model of the Land Ecosystem-Atmosphere Feedback (LEAF), the RAMS/LEAF produces strong cold biases and thus fails to simulate UHI formation. This is due to the poor representation or absence of important urban physical processes in the RAMS/LEAF. This study implies that urban physical processes should be included in numerical models in order to reasonably simulate meteorology and air quality in urban areas and that the VUCM is one of the promising urban canopy models.
Key wordsVegetated urban canopy model urban boundary layer urban heat island surface energy balance urban atmospheric modeling
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