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Observing Local-Scale Variability of Near-Surface Temperature and Humidity Using a Wireless Sensor Network

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  • 1 Meteorological Institute, University of Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany
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Abstract

In this paper the influence of surface type, wind speed, and other environmental conditions on near-surface air temperature, specific humidity, and surface temperature is studied. A wireless sensor network consisting of 13 low-cost meteorological stations was set up as a 2.3-km-long double transect in western Germany during the Fluxes and Patterns in the Soil–Vegetation–Atmosphere Scheme (FLUXPAT2009) campaign. This deployment covered various surface types, including a small river. It was found that the air temperature was mainly influenced by the distance to the river and that its variability is controlled by the wind speed. During the night, a pool of cold air formed in the valley close to the water. The specific humidity is also governed by proximity to the river, especially during the night and for low wind speeds. In contrast, the differences in surface temperature were caused by different land cover. These results can be confirmed by a cluster analysis. Setting up 13 stations in a relatively small area is not always feasible. In this study, an estimation of the error that is made by considering the effect of a reduced number of stations is given. Use of only a single station results in an error of 0.86 K in air temperature, 0.67 g kg−1 in specific humidity, and 1.4 K in surface temperature.

Corresponding author address: Katharina Lengfeld, Meteorological Institute, University of Hamburg, Bundesstrasse 55, 20146 Hamburg, Germany. E-mail: katharina.lengfeld@zmaw.de

Abstract

In this paper the influence of surface type, wind speed, and other environmental conditions on near-surface air temperature, specific humidity, and surface temperature is studied. A wireless sensor network consisting of 13 low-cost meteorological stations was set up as a 2.3-km-long double transect in western Germany during the Fluxes and Patterns in the Soil–Vegetation–Atmosphere Scheme (FLUXPAT2009) campaign. This deployment covered various surface types, including a small river. It was found that the air temperature was mainly influenced by the distance to the river and that its variability is controlled by the wind speed. During the night, a pool of cold air formed in the valley close to the water. The specific humidity is also governed by proximity to the river, especially during the night and for low wind speeds. In contrast, the differences in surface temperature were caused by different land cover. These results can be confirmed by a cluster analysis. Setting up 13 stations in a relatively small area is not always feasible. In this study, an estimation of the error that is made by considering the effect of a reduced number of stations is given. Use of only a single station results in an error of 0.86 K in air temperature, 0.67 g kg−1 in specific humidity, and 1.4 K in surface temperature.

Corresponding author address: Katharina Lengfeld, Meteorological Institute, University of Hamburg, Bundesstrasse 55, 20146 Hamburg, Germany. E-mail: katharina.lengfeld@zmaw.de
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