Measuring the impact of a city’s buildings on the weather

A new model developed at EPFL can help engineers and meteorologists quickly calculate the effect that city buildings have on local weather patterns. A blinds manufacturer is already interested in it, and climate scientists could be next.

The shape of city buildings, how they are arranged, and the heat they generate all affect the local weather. Being able to model the complicated processes involved doesn’t only help meteorologists improve their city-weather forecasts, but also enables engineers improve the energy efficiency of the buildings they design.

The programs typically used to model such phenomena are onerous, time-consuming, and expensive to run. However, a study carried out in 2016 by EPFL’s CRYOS laboratory showed the importance, as well as the complexity, of these calculations. At EPFL’s Solar Energy and Building Physics Laboratory (partner of the SCCER FEEB&D), postdoc Dasaraden Mauree successfully simplified the equations to make them easier for engineers to use. He ran data from the city of Basel through his streamlined model, obtaining results and trends similar to those generated by a theoretical model as well as a more sophisticated model called LES. This study, with Mauree as the lead author, was published in Frontiers in Earth Science.

For more details, please visit EPFL’s website.