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Global High-resolution Urban Surface Representation for Earth System Models

Presentation Date
Wednesday, December 13, 2023 at 3:00pm - Wednesday, December 13, 2023 at 3:10pm
MC - 2006 - West



Despite the acknowledged importance of urban areas in investigating city-scale climatic risks and exposures, the state-of-art Earth System Models (ESMs) suffer from a prevalent underrepresentation of such regions, hindering the models’ ability and fidelity in accurately depicting urban processes and providing reliable future projections. Here we present a continuous global 1km-resolution urban surface dataset including radiative (e.g., surface albedo and emissivity), morphological (e.g., fraction of roof and pervious road, canyon height to width ratio, height of roof) and thermal (e.g., volumetric heat capacity, thermal conductivity) parameters, facilitating high-resolution urban climate modeling across scales. The high-resolution data allows for the preservation of the fine-scale spatial heterogeneity and granularity, while maintaining the flexibility to be aggregated into coarser desired resolution for both global-scale models such as Community Earth System Model (CESM) and regional-scale models like Weather Research & Forecasting Model (WRF). A set of global land-only simulations at ~0.25degree resolution and simulations over continental U.S. at ~10km resolution using CESM were conducted to assess the preliminary performance of this dataset. The simulation results were evaluated against the observational data collected from selected urban flux tower sites. In general, the implementation of this new version of the urban surface dataset enhances CESM’s ability to resolve urban spatial heterogeneity across scales and improve the accuracy in simulating urban climate effects, which advances the mechanistic understanding of urban physical processes. With the power embedded in the high-resolution representation, this dataset bridges the gap between local and global urban studies, facilitating city-to-city comparisons and further advancing urban climate research.

Funding Program Area(s)