Parameter Estimation and Sensitivity Analysis of an Urban Surface Energy Balance Parameterization at a Tropical Suburban Site

Monday, 15 December 2014
Suraj Harshan, National University of Singapore, Geography, Singapore, Singapore, Matthias Roth, National University of Singapore, Singapore, Singapore and Erik Velasco, Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology (SMART), Singapore, Singapore
Forecasting of the urban weather and climate is of great importance as our cities become more populated and considering the combined effects of global warming and local land use changes which make urban inhabitants more vulnerable to e.g. heat waves and flash floods. In meso/global scale models, urban parameterization schemes are used to represent the urban effects. However, these schemes require a large set of input parameters related to urban morphological and thermal properties. Obtaining all these parameters through direct measurements are usually not feasible. A number of studies have reported on parameter estimation and sensitivity analysis to adjust and determine the most influential parameters for land surface schemes in non-urban areas. Similar work for urban areas is scarce, in particular studies on urban parameterization schemes in tropical cities have so far not been reported.
In order to address above issues, the town energy balance (TEB) urban parameterization scheme (part of the SURFEX land surface modeling system) was subjected to a sensitivity and optimization/parameter estimation experiment at a suburban site in, tropical Singapore. The sensitivity analysis was carried out as a screening test to identify the most sensitive or influential parameters. Thereafter, an optimization/parameter estimation experiment was performed to calibrate the input parameter. The sensitivity experiment was based on the “improved Sobol’s global variance decomposition method” . The analysis showed that parameters related to road, roof and soil moisture have significant influence on the performance of the model. The optimization/parameter estimation experiment was performed using the AMALGM (a multi-algorithm genetically adaptive multi-objective method) evolutionary algorithm. The experiment showed a remarkable improvement compared to the simulations using the default parameter set. The calibrated parameters from this optimization experiment can be used for further model validation studies to identify inherent deficiencies in model physics.