Oscar Brousse

and 6 more

Urban climate model evaluation often remains limited by a lack of trusted urban weather observations. The increasing density of personal weather stations (PWS) make them a potential rich source of data for urban climate studies that address the lack of representative urban weather observations. In our study, we demonstrate that PWS data not only improve urban climate models’ evaluation, but can also serve for bias-correcting their output prior to any urban climate impact studies. After simulating near-surface air temperatures over London and south-east England during the hot summer of 2018 with the Weather Research Forecast (WRF) model and its Building Effect Parameterization with the Building Energy Model (BEP-BEM) activated, we evaluated the modelled temperatures against 402 urban PWS and showcased a heterogeneous spatial distribution of the model’s cool bias that was not captured using official weather stations only. This finding indicated a need for spatially-explicit urban bias corrections of air temperatures, which we performed using an innovative method using machine learning to predict the models’ biases in each urban grid cell. Our technique is the first to consider that urban temperatures are heterogeneously accurate in space and that this accuracy is not linearly correlated to the urban fraction. Our results showed that the bias-correction was beneficial to bias-correct daily-minimum, -mean, and -maximum temperatures in the cities. We recommend that urban climate modellers further investigate the use of PWS for model evaluation and derive a framework for bias-correction of urban climate simulations that can serve urban climate impact studies.