Response of London's urban heat island to a marine air intrusion in an easterly wind regime

C. Chemel, Ranjeet S. Sokhi

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Numerical simulations are conducted using the Weather Research and Forecast numerical model to examine the effects of a marine air intrusion (including a sea-breeze front), in an easterly wind regime on 7 May 2008, on the structure of London's urban heat island (UHI). A sensitivity study is undertaken to assess how the representation of the urban area of London in the model, with a horizontal grid resolution of 1 km, affects its performance characteristics for the near-surface air temperature, dewpoint depression, and wind fields. No single simulation is found to provide the overall best or worst performance for all the near-surface fields considered. Using a multilayer (rather than single layer or bulk) urban canopy model does not clearly improve the prediction of the intensity of the UHI but it does improve the prediction of its spatial pattern. Providing surface-cover fractions leads to improved predictions of the UHI intensity. The advection of cooler air from the North Sea reduces the intensity of the UHI in the windward suburbs and displaces it several kilometres to the west, in good agreement with observations. Frontal advection across London effectively replaces the air in the urban area. Results indicate that there is a delicate balance between the effects of thermal advection and urbanization on near-surface fields, which depend, inter alia, on the parametrization of the urban canopy and the urban land-cover distribution.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)65-81
Number of pages17
JournalBoundary-Layer Meteorology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2012


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