Modeling the Urban Climate at the Human Scale in Hot/Dry Regions

Benjamin L. Ruddell, Assistant ProfessorDepartment of Engineering, College of Technology and InnovationArizona State University

Although most of the human impacts of global and local climate change will be felt in cities, and despite the fact that the connections between the sustainability of human health and economics, water, and energy are arguably the strongest in cities, our descriptive and modeling capabilities for the Earth System remain relatively weak at the critical "human scale" below 1km at which the urban environment is built, owned, and managed, and at which people live their lives. A project funded by the Earth Systems Modeling (EaSM, of the NSF's SEES Initiative) program is demonstrating the computational feasibility and empirically validated accuracy of a coupled tRIBS/WRF model for regional climate model downscaling and microclimate modeling at sub-1km urban "neighborhood" and "yard" scales. This project aims to study the feasibility of fine-resolution urban modeling based on the WRF framework and to make improvements in the fidelity and performance of these models, especially with respect to temperatures and the role of water and vegetation in the urban microclimate. New urban microclimate observational data is utilized for model development and validation at sub-1km scales. Analysis of this observational data, and preliminary results for the performance of various WRF parameterizations at multiple spatial resolutions, are presented for studies in the Phoenix metropolitan area. When complete, this project will advance modeling tools for the purpose of microclimate engineering which seeks to manage urban neighborhoods to make them resilient in scenarios of climate and economic change, optimize tradeoffs between water, energy, environmental, and social outcomes. Findings are especially applicable in hot/dry urban areas such as those in the U.S. Southwest.

Thursday, 7 February 2013, 3:30 PM

Refreshments 3:15 PM

NCAR-Foothills Laboratory

3450 Mitchell Lane

Bldg 2 Small Seminar Room 1001


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Thursday, February 7, 2013 - 3:30pm