Development of a Three-Dimensional Urban Energy Model for Predicting and Understanding Surface Temperature Distribution

Research paper by Xinyan Yang, Yuguo Li

Indexed on: 13 Aug '13Published on: 13 Aug '13Published in: Boundary-Layer Meteorology


The Model for Urban Surface Temperature, a three-dimensional approach, is developed for a realistically complex city with considerations of the energy exchange processes at the urban surface. The discrete transfer method and Gebhart absorption factor method are used for the shape factor estimation and multiple reflection calculation, respectively. The surface energy balance model is evaluated against existing field measurements that pertain to idealized urban geometry. It performs well in terms of predicting surface temperature and heat fluxes by allowing for detailed urban surface properties and meteorological conditions. The compressed row storage scheme is applied to calculate the transfer of surface thermal radiation, which dramatically reduces the computational requirements. This strategy permits the rigorous consideration of multiple reflections in a realistic urban area with hundreds of buildings. The result illustrates that considering only the first reflection is a good approach when the urban area is comprised of typical urban materials, e.g. materials with high emissivity and low albedo, because relatively accurate computational results can be obtained rapidly by avoiding the multiple reflection calculation.