Effects of increasing surface reflectivity on aerosol, radiation, and cloud interactions in the urban atmosphere

  • Zahra Jandaghian
  • Hashem AkbariEmail author
Original Paper


The online Weather Research and Forecasting model coupled with Chemistry (WRF-Chem) is used to simulate the effects of albedo enhancement on aerosol, radiation, and cloud interactions in the Greater Montreal Area during the 2011 heat wave period. We used a 2-way nested approach to capture the full impacts of meteorological and photochemical reactions in the urban atmosphere. We conducted four sets of simulations with and without aerosol estimations and convective parameterizations to explore the aerosol interactions with radiation and cloud in the urban atmosphere. The direct, semi-direct, and indirect effects of aerosols are analyzed. The meteorological performance of the model indicates that the model slightly underpredicts air temperature, overpredicts wind speed, and underpredicts relative humidity. The chemical component of the model indicates that the model tends to underpredict fine particulate matters and overpredict ozone and nitrogen dioxide concentrations. The surface reflectivity of roofs, walls, and grounds is increased from 0.2 to 0.65, 0.60, and 0.45, respectively. Albedo enhancement led to a net decrease in radiative balance at solar noon by 25 W/m2, a decrease in daily air temperature by 0.5 °C, a reduction in water mixing ratio to 0.5 g/kg, and a decline in cloud coverage by 3% in the center part of the domain. Increasing urban albedo caused a decrease in planetary boundary layer height by 25 m. Albedo enhancement affords a decrease in temperature-sensitive photochemical reaction rates and thus reduces daily ozone concentrations by 3 ppb across the entire domain. The concentration of daily fine particulate matters decreased by 3 μg/m3 in the center part of the GMA during the 2011 heat wave period.


Urban heat island Aerosol-radiation-cloud interactions Increasing surface reflectivity Urban climate Air quality 



Calcul Quebec and Compute Canada provided the computational facilities for this research. The data is obtained from

Funding information

Funding for this research was provided by the National Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) under discovery program.


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© Springer-Verlag GmbH Austria, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Heat Island Group, Building, Civil and Environmental Engineering DepartmentConcordia UniversityQuebecCanada
  2. 2.Research Assistant, Department of Architecture ScienceRyerson UniversityTorontoCanada

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