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Spatial variability of energy fluxes in suburban terrain

Schmid, H. P., Cleugh, H. A., Grimmond, C. S. B. ORCID: and Oke, T. R. (1991) Spatial variability of energy fluxes in suburban terrain. Boundary-Layer Meteorology, 54 (3). pp. 249-276. ISSN 0006-8314

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1007/BF00183956


Energy fluxes over an area of “homogeneous” suburban residential land-use in Vancouver, B.C., Canada are shown to vary by up to 25–40% within horizontal scales on the order of 102–103 m. Previously, variability of this magnitude has been expected to occur only at larger scales, between land-use zones or as urban-rural differences. In view of these findings, it is recognized that microadvective interaction between surface types at small scales may be important and can affect the energy balance even at larger scales. The present study discusses the small-scale spatial variability of energy fluxes and shows that it varies greatly for each term in the surface energy balance. Net radiation shows a relatively conservative behaviour (via albedo-surface temperature feedback) with little spatial variability. The turbulent fluxes (measured by eddy correlation at 28 m height), on the other hand, show a link between their temporal and spatial variability as the result of a temporally shifting source area which contains varying combinations of surface cover (using the dynamical source area concept of Schmid and Oke, 1990). As a result, part of the measured temporal variation is attributable to spatial differences in surface cover. Anthropogenic heat flux and storage heat flux (both modelled using a high resolution surface data-base) exhibit temporally varying spatial distributions. Their spatial pattern, however, is governed by nested scales of urban morphology (blocks, streets, properties, etc.). These differences in the source of variability between each component flux suggest a difficulty in the interpretation of the energy balance over urban areas, unless each term is spatially-averaged over the principal morphological units occurring in the area.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:No Reading authors. Back catalogue items
Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:98288

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