Boundary Layer, Urban Meteorology and Land-Surface Processes

Near Surface Atmospheric Impacts Resulting from a Developing Metropolitan Area

Brad Illston

School of Meteorology

06 May 2016, 2:00 PM

National Weather Center, Room 5600
120 David L. Boren Blvd.
University of Oklahoma
Norman, OK

Over the past century, the population of the world has become increasingly urbanized. As a result, cities have become larger and more densely populated than any time in history. This unprecedented growth and rapid modification of the surface has impacted the overlying boundary-layer of the atmosphere. As such, understanding the overall magnitude and spatial variability of these changes has critical value to the ever growing population living within the impacted regions. The goal of this study is to determine the impact of urbanization on near surface atmospheric conditions and how those impacts evolve with time.

The Weather Research & Forecasting (WRF) model was utilized to simulate atmospheric conditions in and around the Oklahoma City area. The WRF output was compared to surface observations from the Oklahoma City Micronet and the Oklahoma Mesonet to show model accuracies and biases. National Land Cover Dataset (NLCD) was modified to represent land use characteristics from 1890, following the Oklahoma Land Rush, to 2011. The WRF model was run with modified NLCD land use datasets to determine the impact from a developing metropolitan area. Results show an increase in urban heat island indices throughout the past 120 years. Additionally, challenges associated with utilizing alternate land use datasets in WRF and different methodologies for interpreting urban heat characteristics are presented.

Boundary Layer, Urban Meteorology and Land-Surface Processes Seminar Series website