Enhancing Hydrologic Modelling in the Coupled Weather Research and Forecasting–Urban Modelling System

Jiachuan Yang, Zhihua Wang, Fei Chen, Shiguang Miao, Mukul Tewari, James A. Voogt, Soe Myint

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

144 Scopus citations


Urbanization modifies surface energy and water budgets, and has significant impacts on local and regional hydroclimate. In recent decades, a number of urban canopy models have been developed and implemented into the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model to capture urban land-surface processes. Most of these models are inadequate due to the lack of realistic representation of urban hydrological processes. Here, we implement physically-based parametrizations of urban hydrological processes into the single layer urban canopy model in the WRF model. The new single-layer urban canopy model features the integration of, (1) anthropogenic latent heat, (2) urban irrigation, (3) evaporation from paved surfaces, and (4) the urban oasis effect. The new WRF–urban modelling system is evaluated against field measurements for four different cities; results show that the model performance is substantially improved as compared to the current schemes, especially for latent heat flux. In particular, to evaluate the performance of green roofs as an urban heat island mitigation strategy, we integrate in the urban canopy model a multilayer green roof system, enabled by the physical urban hydrological schemes. Simulations show that green roofs are capable of reducing surface temperature and sensible heat flux as well as enhancing building energy efficiency.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)87-109
Number of pages23
JournalBoundary-Layer Meteorology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 2015


  • Green roofs
  • Hydrological modelling
  • Regional hydroclimate
  • Urban canopy model
  • Urban irrigation
  • WRF model

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science


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