Physical parameterization and sensitivity of urban hydrological models: Application to green roof systems

Jiachuan Yang, Zhihua Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

41 Scopus citations


Rapid urbanization has emerged as the source of many adverse environmental effects and brings cities to a vulnerable situation under future climate challenges. Green roofs are proven to be an effective solution to alleviate these effects by field observations under a wide range of climate conditions. Recent advances in modeling urban land-atmosphere interactions provide a useful tool in capturing the dynamics of coupled transport of water and energy in urban conies, thus bridge the gap of modeling at city to regional scales. The performance of urban hydrological models depends heavily on the accurate determination of the input parameter space, where uncertainty is ubiquitous. In this paper, we use an advanced Monte Carlo approach, viz. the Subset Simulation, to quantify the sensitivity of urban hydrological modeling to parameter uncertainties. Results of the sensitivity analysis reveal that green roofs exhibit markedly different thermal and hydrological behavior as compared to conventional roofs, due to the modification of the surface energy portioning by well-irrigated vegetation. In addition, statistical predictions of critical responses of green roofs (extreme surface temperature, heat fluxes, etc.) have relatively weak dependence on climatic conditions. The statistical quantification of sensitivity provides guidance for future development of urban hydrological models with practical applications such as urban heat island mitigation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)250-263
Number of pages14
JournalBuilding and Environment
StatePublished - May 2014


  • Green roof
  • Hydrological model
  • Monte carlo simulations
  • Parameter uncertainty
  • Sensitivity
  • Urban heat island

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Building and Construction

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Physical parameterization and sensitivity of urban hydrological models: Application to green roof systems'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this