UWERN urban meteorology programme

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The key issues of this project are:

  • how boundary-layer motions drive small-scale street-level circulations within the urban canopy
  • how street-level circulations feed back into the larger-scale boundary-layer above by mixing heat, moisture and momentum
  • how small-scale circulations within the streets mix pollutants from street-level into the boundary-layer above
  • how larger-scale motions above affect the mixing.




This work will bring together expertise from dynamical and observational meteorology, and theoretical and experimental fluid dynamics to make full-scale and laboratory measurements of the atmospheric boundary-layer over urban areas. The project will develop a sound understanding of the processes of mixing and transport from the street-level into the boundary-layer. It will also develop methods for parameterising these processes in urban-scale dispersion models and in numerical weather prediction models through an urban canopy model of urban areas.

Start Date/Duration

January 1999 Three years

Lead Organisations

University of Reading

University of Salford

University of Surrey


The project will deliver:

  • a comprehensive set of measurements of the atmospheric boundary-layer above an urban area over a range of synoptic conditions and over a diurnal cycle - the first time for such measurements
  • a set of controlled wind-tunnel experiments of simulated atmospheric boundary-layers over model buildings that will provide more insight than is possible from the full-scale measurements alone, particularly into the detailed spatial structure of the flow
  • a method for parameterising urban areas in urban dispersion models via an urban canopy model that represents the interactive coupling of mixing and transport between street-level circulations and the boundary-layer above, and then simpler parameterisations for representing these processes in numerical weather prediction models.


Meteorological Office

Cambridge Environmental Research Consultants



Further Details

Further information is available from the following contacts:

Lead Researcher: Dr S E Belcher

Tel: 0118 931 6646, Fax: 0118 931 8905, e-mail: s.e.belcher@reading.ac.uk

URGENT Programme Manager: Graham Leeks

Tel: 01491 692203, Fax: 01491 692313, e-mail: gjll@ceh.ac.uk