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Catherine L. Muller, Lee Chapman, C.S.B. Grimmond, Duick T. Young, and Xiao-Ming Cai

With the growing number and significance of urban meteorological networks (UMNs) across the world, it is becoming critical to establish a standard metadata protocol. Indeed, a review of existing UMNs indicate large variations in the quality, quantity, and availability of metadata containing technical information (i.e., equipment, communication methods) and network practices (i.e., quality assurance/quality control and data management procedures). Without such metadata, the utility of UMNs is greatly compromised. There is a need to bring together the currently disparate sets of guidelines to ensure informed and well-documented future deployments. This should significantly improve the quality, and therefore the applicability, of the high-resolution data available from such networks. Here, the first metadata protocol for UMNs is proposed, drawing on current recommendations for urban climate stations and identified best practice in existing networks.

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Duick T. Young, Lee Chapman, Catherine L. Muller, Xiao-Ming Cai, and C. S. B. Grimmond

Abstract

A wide range of environmental applications would benefit from a dense network of air temperature observations. However, with limitations of costs, existing siting guidelines, and risk of damage, new methods are required to gain a high-resolution understanding of spatiotemporal patterns of temperature for agricultural and urban meteorological phenomena such as the urban heat island. With the launch of a new generation of low-cost sensors, it is possible to deploy a network to monitor air temperature at finer spatial resolutions. This study investigates the Aginova Sentinel Micro (ASM) sensor with a custom radiation shield (together less than USD$150) that can provide secure near-real-time air temperature data to a server utilizing existing (or user deployed) Wi-Fi networks. This makes it ideally suited for deployment where wireless communications readily exist, notably urban areas. Assessment of the performance of the ASM relative to traceable standards in a water bath and atmospheric chamber show it to have good measurement accuracy with mean errors <±0.22°C between −25° and 30°C, with a time constant in ambient air of 110 ±15 s. Subsequent field tests also showed the ASM (in the custom shield) had excellent performance (RMSE = 0.13°C) over a range of meteorological conditions relative to a traceable operational Met Office platinum resistance thermometer. These results indicate that the ASM and radiation shield are more than fit for purpose for dense network deployment in environmental monitoring applications at relatively low cost compared to existing observation techniques.

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Thomas Loridan, C. S. B. Grimmond, Brian D. Offerle, Duick T. Young, Thomas E. L. Smith, Leena Järvi, and Fredrik Lindberg

Abstract

Recent developments to the Local-scale Urban Meteorological Parameterization Scheme (LUMPS), a simple model able to simulate the urban energy balance, are presented. The major development is the coupling of LUMPS to the Net All-Wave Radiation Parameterization (NARP). Other enhancements include that the model now accounts for the changing availability of water at the surface, seasonal variations of active vegetation, and the anthropogenic heat flux, while maintaining the need for only commonly available meteorological observations and basic surface characteristics. The incoming component of the longwave radiation (L↓) in NARP is improved through a simple relation derived using cloud cover observations from a ceilometer collected in central London, England. The new L↓ formulation is evaluated with two independent multiyear datasets (Łódź, Poland, and Baltimore, Maryland) and compared with alternatives that include the original NARP and a simpler one using the National Climatic Data Center cloud observation database as input. The performance for the surface energy balance fluxes is assessed using a 2-yr dataset (Łódź). Results have an overall RMSE < 34 W m−2 for all surface energy balance fluxes over the 2-yr period when using L↓ as forcing, and RMSE < 43 W m−2 for all seasons in 2002 with all other options implemented to model L↓.

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Lee Chapman, Catherine L. Muller, Duick T. Young, Elliott L. Warren, C. S. B. Grimmond, Xiao-Ming Cai, and Emma J. S. Ferranti

Abstract

The Birmingham Urban Climate Laboratory (BUCL) is a near-real-time, high-resolution urban meteorological network (UMN) of automatic weather stations and inexpensive, nonstandard air temperature sensors. The network has recently been implemented with an initial focus on monitoring urban heat, infrastructure, and health applications. A number of UMNs exist worldwide; however, BUCL is novel in its density, the low-cost nature of the sensors, and the use of proprietary Wi-Fi networks. This paper provides an overview of the logistical aspects of implementing a UMN test bed at such a density, including selecting appropriate urban sites; testing and calibrating low-cost, nonstandard equipment; implementing strict quality-assurance/quality-control mechanisms (including metadata); and utilizing preexisting Wi-Fi networks to transmit data. Also included are visualizations of data collected by the network, including data from the July 2013 U.K. heatwave as well as highlighting potential applications. The paper is an open invitation to use the facility as a test bed for evaluating models and/or other nonstandard observation techniques such as those generated via crowdsourcing techniques.

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