Geography Publications


A Microscale Three-dimensional Urban Energy Balance Model for Studying Surface Temperatures

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Boundary-Layer Meteorology





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A microscale three-dimensional (3-D) urban energy balance model, Temperatures of Urban Facets in 3-D (TUF-3D), is developed to predict urban surface temperatures for a variety of surface geometries and properties, weather conditions, and solar angles. The surface is composed of plane-parallel facets: roofs, walls, and streets, which are further sub-divided into identical square patches, resulting in a 3-D raster-type model geometry. The model code is structured into radiation, conduction and convection sub-models. The radiation sub-model uses the radiosity approach and accounts for multiple reflections and shading of direct solar radiation. Conduction is solved by finite differencing of the heat conduction equation, and convection is modelled by empirically relating patch heat transfer coefficients to the momentum forcing and the building morphology. The radiation and conduction sub-models are tested individually against measurements, and the complete model is tested against full-scale urban surface temperature and energy balance observations. Modelled surface temperatures perform well at both the facet-average and the sub-facet scales given the precision of the observations and the uncertainties in the model inputs. The model has several potential applications, such as the calculation of radiative loads, and the investigation of effective thermal anisotropy (when combined with a sensor-view model).