To main content

The Urban Climate


Climate has a direct impact on cities' energy flows due to the space conditioning (heating, cooling) needs of the buildings accommodated. This impact may be reinforced due to climate change and to the (so called) urban heat island effect. The corresponding changes in energy demands alter greenhouse gas emissions so that there is a feedback loop. To be able to simulate cities' metabolism with reasonable accuracy it is thus important to have good models of the urban climate. But this is complicated by the diverse scales involved. The climate in a city, for example, will be affected not only by the buildings within the urban canopy (the size of a few meters) but also by large topographical features such as nearby water bodies or mountains (the size of a few kilometers). Unfortunately it is not possible to satisfactorily resolve all of these scales in a computationally tractable way using a single model. It is however possible to tackle this problem by coupling different models which each target different climatic scales. For example a macro model with a grid size of 200 – 300 km may be coupled with a meso model having a grid of 0.5-1 km, which itself may be coupled with a micro model of a grid size of 5-10 meters. Here we describe one such approach.


Academic chapter/article/Conference paper





  • SINTEF Digital / Mathematics and Cybernetics
  • United Kingdom




Earthscan Publications Ltd.


Computer modelling for sustainable urban design : physical principles, methods, and applications




57 - 93

View this publication at Cristin