Turbulent-resolving urban modeling of air quality and thermal comfort


Turbulent-resolving urban modeling of air quality and thermal comfort


In the 21st century, Europe and the rest of the world are experiencing unprecedented numbers and severity of weather extremes. Prolonged heat and cold waves significantly deteriorate the urban environmental quality and thermal comfort. Air pollution caused by local transportation, industry, heating, and other activities increases morbidity and mortality of city dwellers.

The changing climate invalidates empirical statistics used to evaluate the impact of weather extremes on urban districts. In such a situation, a novel approach to assess the urban local atmospheric conditions is urgently in demand. The complex structure of the urban canopy calls for applications of fine-scale dynamic turbulence-resolving models. Such models are broadly utilized to solve engineering tasks such as designing wind parks or bridges construction, but their application to the whole-scale urban problems remains limited.

The TURBAN project focuses on solving these problems. It is realized in cooperation of several institutions focused on meteorological and air quality modelling on regional and urban scale as well as on its practical application.

Detailed description

Main goals of the project:

  1. Collecting, processing and publishing an extensive set of diverse atmospheric observations, including data from specific monitoring campaigns.
  2. Extending knowledge and ability to manage the urban climate and air quality; foresee the impacts of policy actions and socio-economic decisions designed by urban authorities and general public.
  3. Contributing to scientific understanding of complex, turbulent atmospheric flow and energy exchanges within the urban canopy that is essential to develop advanced tools for urban thermal comfort and air quality assessment.
  4. Preparation of specific urban studies for selected parts of particular cities, which will be conducted in coordination with relevant city authorities.

Project is divided into six work packages (WP):

WP1 Observations and measurements

A large dataset from a dedicated campaign utilizing air quality sensors and remote sensing tools (aerosol LIDAR and microwave radiometer) will be collected and complemented by measurements from existing air quality and meteorological stations. Data will provide new information about spatial distribution of pollution and will be used for model validation.

WP2 Configuration, validation and calibration of the modelling tools

The newly developed detailed models of the urban environment need careful validation and further improvements before they can become standard tools for urban planning. The TURBAN project will build up on a validation of the PALM model done as part of the Urbi Pragensi project in Prague 6 - Dejvice, this time focusing more on air quality and vertical profiles of meteorological parameters.

WP3 Scenarios

Various model scenarios will be produced for elected areas in Prague and Bergen, focusing on air quality and heat stress during extreme meteorological conditions.

WP4 Data fusion

Increasing diversity and complexity of the in situ, citizen, remotely sensed, modelling and emission inventory datasets urgently calls for a robust approach to combine (fuse) these heterogeneous data collections in a transparent, interpolated and quality controlled data resources. The project proposes a novel data fusion technology based on statistical universal kriging with external drift from a turbulence-resolving urbanized model.

WP5 Comparison of LES and Gaussian models

The comparison will allow city authorities to better understand common air pollution studies created using Gaussian models from the perspective of a complex urban environment. Possibilities of updating the current modelling approach or even replacement of the Gaussian models by more advanced tools will be examined.

WP6 Results aggregation and dissemination

This WP includes the creation and publishing of comprehensible outputs for city authorities (esp. for urban planning) and detailed research papers for experts. This WP also includes creation and maintenance of web pages and organization of workshops in accordance with the communication plan.


The TURBAN project ("TURBAN - Turbulent-resolving urban modeling of air quality and thermal comfort") benefits from a 1.1 mil. EUR grant from Norway and Technology Agency of the Czech Republic (TA CR). Aim of this project is to improve the tools and methods used to assess the atmosphere in urban environment and to support mitigation measures aiming to reduce thermal stress and air pollution.

Main objectives

1. to considerably improve spatial resolution and quality of the urban atmospheric environment assessment on the basis of state-of-the-art modeling, observation and data analysis technologies
2. to improve and validate advanced modelling tools with a focus on modelling of the turbulent flow and air quality in the complex urban environment
3. to improve methods for combining observational and model data
4. to compare environmental effects of selected urban policy measures in Prague and Bergen
5. to provide public authorities with a set of tools to support urban governance: focus on air quality and thermal comfort

Project partners

Institute of Computer Science of the Czech Academy of Sciences


Pod Vodárenskou věží 271/2
182 07 Praha 8
+420 266 052 183

Contact person:

Department of Atmospheric Physics, Faculty of Mathematics and Physics, Charles University


Ke Karlovu 2027/3
121 16 Praha 2
+420 951 551 289
Contact person:

Czech Hydrometeorological Institute


Na Šabatce 2050/17
143 06 Praha 4-Komořany
+420 244 031 111
Contact person:

ATEM - Studio of Ecological Models


Roztylská 1860/1
148 00 Praha 4
+420 241 494 425
Contact person:

Nansen Environmental and Remote Sensing Center


Thormøhlens gate 47
5006 Bergen
+47 55 20 58 00

Contact person: