A coupled energy transport and hydrological model for urban canopies evaluated using a wireless sensor network

Authors

  • Zhi-Hua Wang,

    Corresponding author
    1. School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ, USA
    2. Department of Civil and Environmental Engineered, Princeton University, NJ, USA
    • School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85287, USA.
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  • Elie Bou-Zeid,

    1. Department of Civil and Environmental Engineered, Princeton University, NJ, USA
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  • James A. Smith

    1. Department of Civil and Environmental Engineered, Princeton University, NJ, USA
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Abstract

We propose a new surface exchange scheme coupling the transport of energy and water in urban canopies. The new model resolves the subfacet heterogeneity of urban surfaces, which is particularly useful for capturing surface exchange processes from vegetated urban surfaces, such as lawns or green roofs. We develop detailed urban hydrological models for surfaces consisting of either natural (soil and vegetation) or engineered materials with water-holding capacity. The coupling of energy and water transport enables us to parametrize surface evaporation from different urban facets including soils, vegetation and water-holding engineered surfaces. The new coupled model is evaluated using field measurement data obtained through a wireless sensor network deployed over the Princeton University campus. Comparison of model prediction and measured results shows that the proposed surface exchange scheme is able to predict widely varying surface temperatures for each subfacet with good accuracy. Different weather conditions and seasonal variability are found to have insignificant effect on the model performance. The new model is also able to capture the subsurface hydrological processes with reasonable accuracy, particularly for urban lawns. The proposed model is then applied to assess different mitigation strategies of the urban heat island effect.

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