Characterization of Energy Flux Partitioning in Urban Environments: Links with Surface Seasonal Properties

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A better understanding of links between the properties of the urban environment and the exchange to the atmosphere is central to a wide range of applications. The numerous measurements of surface energy balance data in urban areas enable intercomparison of observed fluxes from distinct environments. This study analyzes a large database in two new ways. First, instead of normalizing fluxes using net all-wave radiation only the incoming radiative fluxes are used, to remove the surface attributes from the denominator. Second, because data are now available year-round, indices are developed to characterize the fraction of the surface (built; vegetation) actively engaged in energy exchanges. These account for shading patterns within city streets and seasonal changes in vegetation phenology; their impact on the partitioning of the incoming radiation is analyzed. Data from 19 sites in North America, Europe, Africa, and Asia (including 6-yr-long observation campaigns) are used to derive generalized surface flux relations. The midday-period outgoing radiative fraction decreases with an increasing total active surface index, the stored energy fraction increases with an active built index, and the latent heat fraction increases with an active vegetated index. Parameterizations of these energy exchange ratios as a function of the surface indices [i.e., the Flux Ratio Active Index Surface Exchange (FRAISE) scheme] are developed. These are used to define four urban zones that characterize energy partitioning on the basis of their active surface indices. An independent evaluation of FRAISE, using three additional sites from the Basel Urban Boundary Layer Experiment (BUBBLE), yields accurate predictions of the midday flux partitioning at each location.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)219 - 241
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2012


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