Modeling Surface Sensible Heat Flux Using Surface Radiative Temperatures in a Simple Urban Area

J. A. Voogt Department of Geography, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada

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C. S. B. Grimmond Atmospheric Science Program, Department of Geography, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana

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Abstract

Sensible heat fluxes over a light industrial area in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, are analyzed from observed tower fluxes and modeled using a bulk heat transfer approach. The bulk transfer models are initialized using remotely sensed surface temperatures from both airborne and ground-based observing platforms. The remotely sensed surface temperature, in conjunction with a surface database, is used to create area-weighted temperature estimates representative of the complete urban surface. Sensitivity analyses of the various surface temperature estimates are performed. Estimates of kB−1, the ratio of roughness length of momentum to heat, for this area are in general agreement with theoretical estimates for bluff-rough surfaces and are larger than those documented for vegetated and agricultural surfaces. Back-calculated values do vary depending on the method used to determine surface temperature but vary more with the time of day. Empirical relations derived previously for vegetated surfaces are shown to agree well with the results for a dry urban environment. Approaches based on microscale variability in temperature fields are problematic.

Corresponding author address: Dr. James Voogt, Dept. of Geography, University of Western Ontario, London, ON N6A 5C2, Canada.

javoogt@julian.uwo.ca

Abstract

Sensible heat fluxes over a light industrial area in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, are analyzed from observed tower fluxes and modeled using a bulk heat transfer approach. The bulk transfer models are initialized using remotely sensed surface temperatures from both airborne and ground-based observing platforms. The remotely sensed surface temperature, in conjunction with a surface database, is used to create area-weighted temperature estimates representative of the complete urban surface. Sensitivity analyses of the various surface temperature estimates are performed. Estimates of kB−1, the ratio of roughness length of momentum to heat, for this area are in general agreement with theoretical estimates for bluff-rough surfaces and are larger than those documented for vegetated and agricultural surfaces. Back-calculated values do vary depending on the method used to determine surface temperature but vary more with the time of day. Empirical relations derived previously for vegetated surfaces are shown to agree well with the results for a dry urban environment. Approaches based on microscale variability in temperature fields are problematic.

Corresponding author address: Dr. James Voogt, Dept. of Geography, University of Western Ontario, London, ON N6A 5C2, Canada.

javoogt@julian.uwo.ca

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