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Contrasting characteristics of the surface energy balance between the urban and rural areas of Beijing

Wang, L., Gao, Z., Miao, S., Guo, X., Sun, T. ORCID:, Liu, M. and Li, D. (2015) Contrasting characteristics of the surface energy balance between the urban and rural areas of Beijing. Advances in Atmospheric Sciences, 32 (4). pp. 505-514. ISSN 0256-1530

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1007/s00376-014-3222-4


A direct comparison of urban and rural surface energy balances, as well as a variety of other variables including incoming shortwave/longwave radiation and aerosol optical depth, is conducted for the Beijing metropolitan area. The results indicate that, overall, the urban area receives a smaller amount of incoming shortwave radiation but a larger amount of incoming longwave radiation. However, comparisons in the aerosol optical depth and cloud fraction at the two locations suggest that neither aerosol optical depth nor cloud fraction alone can explain the difference in the incoming shortwave radiation. The urban-rural differences in the incoming longwave radiation are unlikely to be caused by the presence of more abundant greenhouse gases over the urban area, as suggested by some previous studies, given that water vapor is the most dominant greenhouse gas and precipitable water is found to be less in urban areas. The higher incoming longwave radiation observed over the urban area is mostly likely due to the higher temperatures of the ambient air. The urban area is also found to always produce higher sensible heat fluxes and lower latent heat fluxes in the growing season. Furthermore, the urban area is associated with a larger amount of available energy (the sum of sensible and latent heat fluxes) than the rural area, except in May and October when evapotranspiration in the rural area significantly exceeds that in the urban area. This study provides observational evidence of urban-rural contrasts in relevant energy-balance components that plausibly arise from urban-rural differences in atmospheric and land-surface conditions.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:71095
Publisher:Science Press, co-published with Springer-Verlag Gmb

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