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Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres

A physically based analytical spatial air temperature and humidity model

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Abstract

[1] Spatial variation of urban surface air temperature and humidity influences human thermal comfort, the settling rate of atmospheric pollutants, and plant physiology and growth. Given the lack of observations, we developed a Physically based Analytical Spatial Air Temperature and Humidity (PASATH) model. The PASATH model calculates spatial solar radiation and heat storage based on semiempirical functions and generates spatially distributed estimates based on inputs of topography, land cover, and the weather data measured at a reference site. The model assumes that for all grids under the same mesoscale climate, grid air temperature and humidity are modified by local variation in absorbed solar radiation and the partitioning of sensible and latent heat. The model uses a reference grid site for time series meteorological data and the air temperature and humidity of any other grid can be obtained by solving the heat flux network equations. PASATH was coupled with the USDA iTree-Hydro water balance model to obtain evapotranspiration terms and run from 20 to 29 August 2010 at a 360 m by 360 m grid scale and hourly time step across a 285 km2 watershed including the urban area of Syracuse, NY. PASATH predictions were tested at nine urban weather stations representing variability in urban topography and land cover. The PASATH model predictive efficiency R2 ranged from 0.81 to 0.99 for air temperature and 0.77 to 0.97 for dew point temperature. PASATH is expected to have broad applications on environmental and ecological models.

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