The Energy Balance of an Urban Canyon

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  • 1 Department of Geography, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, B.C., Canada V6T 1W5
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Abstract

This study investigates the energy exchanges occurring within an urban canyon. It considers not only the energy balances of each of the canyon component surfaces (walls and floor), but also the balance of the canyon system and of the air volume contained therein. The results are based on measurements conducted in a specially instrumented canyon during a period of fine anticyclonic summer weather in Vancouver, B.C. The timing and magnitude of the energy regime of the individual canyon surfaces are shown to be very different from each other, each being strongly affected by the influence of the canyon geometry on the radiation exchanges. The diurnal course of the canyon system energy balance is relatively smooth and symmetric. By day the canyon system radiative surplus is mainly dissipated by turbulent transfer, and the remaining 25–30% is stored in the canyon materials. In contrast, the nocturnal radiative deficit is almost entirely balanced by the release of subsurface heat storage. Advective contributions to the air volume energy balance are shown to depend upon wind direction and speed, as well as the nature of the surrounding thermal environment.

Abstract

This study investigates the energy exchanges occurring within an urban canyon. It considers not only the energy balances of each of the canyon component surfaces (walls and floor), but also the balance of the canyon system and of the air volume contained therein. The results are based on measurements conducted in a specially instrumented canyon during a period of fine anticyclonic summer weather in Vancouver, B.C. The timing and magnitude of the energy regime of the individual canyon surfaces are shown to be very different from each other, each being strongly affected by the influence of the canyon geometry on the radiation exchanges. The diurnal course of the canyon system energy balance is relatively smooth and symmetric. By day the canyon system radiative surplus is mainly dissipated by turbulent transfer, and the remaining 25–30% is stored in the canyon materials. In contrast, the nocturnal radiative deficit is almost entirely balanced by the release of subsurface heat storage. Advective contributions to the air volume energy balance are shown to depend upon wind direction and speed, as well as the nature of the surrounding thermal environment.

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