1Environment Agency, Kings Meadow House, Reading RG1 8DQ, UK
2Finnish Meteorological Institute, Air Quality Research, Sahaajankatu 20 E, 00 880 Helsinki, Finland
3Central Institute for Meteorology and Geodynamics, Hohe Warte 38, 1190 Vienna, Austria
4Swiss Federal Office for Meteorology and Climatology, MeteoSwiss, Kraebuehlstrasse 58, Zürich 8044, Switzerland
5University of Hamburg Meteorological Institute, Bundesstrasse 55, 20 146 Hamburg, Germany
Abstract. This selective review of the COST 715 considers simple descriptive concepts in urban meteorology with particular attention to air pollution assessment. It is shown that these are helpful for understanding the complex structure of the urban boundary layer, but that simple concepts only apply under a limited number of occasions. However such concepts are necessary for insight into how both simple and complex air pollution models perform. Wider considerations are needed when considering routine air quality assessments involving an air quality model's formulation and pedigree. It is argued that there is a reluctance from model developers to move away from familiar concepts of the atmospheric boundary layer even if they are not appropriate to urban areas. An example is given from COST 715 as to how routine urban meteorological measurements of wind speed may be used and adapted for air quality assessments. Reference to the full COST 715 study is made which provides further details.