Effects of using different urban parametrization schemes and land-cover datasets on the accuracy of WRF model over the City of Ottawa

Abhishek Gaur, Michael Lacasse, Marianne Armstrong, Henry Lu, Chang Shu, Allan Fields, Francisco Salamanca Palou, Yujia Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


In the face of rapid urbanization and global warming, it is important to acquire a better understanding of urban climate and land-atmosphere interactions operating therein. The Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model is a limited area model that has been used to study urban microclimate in many cities across the globe. However, such a study is lacking for the Canada's capital city: Ottawa. In this article, the WRF model is set-up at 1 km spatial resolution over the Ottawa region and its sensitivity towards the use of different urban parametrization schemes and land-cover datasets is investigated from 01 June to 31 August 2018 which includes an extreme heat weather event spanning from June 30 to July 6. WRF-simulations are performed using the Noah land surface model with two urban parametrization schemes of different complexity, i.e., a simple bulk urban parametrization and a more advanced multilayer urban canopy model (UCM). Both WRF-simulations used the default land use-land cover data from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) available in WRF. Between these two WRF-simulations, the simulation with the multilayer UCM is found to be more accurate than the bulk scheme simulation in terms of modeled near-surface wind-speed, relative humidity, and total precipitation compared to observations recorded at one urban weather gauging station located within the city limits. Finally, a third WRF-simulation is performed with the multilayer UCM but using a higher resolution 30 m land use-land cover data product for the urban domain. This third WRF-experiment improved further the near-surface wind speed, relative humidity, and total precipitation correspondence to observations within the city. It is worthy to mention that modeled total precipitation is found to be sensitive to both urban parametrization schemes and urban land use-land cover data sets.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100737
JournalUrban Climate
StatePublished - Jan 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Urban Studies
  • Atmospheric Science


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