Articles | Volume 10, issue 1
Development and technical paper
25 Jan 2017
Development and technical paper |  | 25 Jan 2017

Implementation of street trees within the solar radiative exchange parameterization of TEB in SURFEX v8.0

Emilie C. Redon, Aude Lemonsu, Valéry Masson, Benjamin Morille, and Marjorie Musy

Abstract. The Town Energy Balance (TEB) model has been refined and improved in order to explicitly represent street trees and their impacts on radiative transfer: a new vegetated stratum on the vertical plane, which can shade the road, the walls, and the low vegetation has been added. This modification led to more complex radiative calculations, but has been done with a concern to preserve a certain level of simplicity and to limit the number of new input parameters for TEB to the cover fraction of trees, the mean height of trunks and trees, their specific leaf area index, and albedo. Indeed, the model is designed to be run over whole cities, for which it can simulate the local climatic variability related to urban landscape heterogeneity at the neighborhood scale. This means that computing times must be acceptable, and that input urban data must be available or easy to define. This simplified characterization of high vegetation necessarily induces some uncertainties in terms of the solar radiative exchanges, as quantified by comparison of TEB with a high-spatial-resolution solar enlightenment model (SOLENE). On the basis of an idealized geometry of an urban canyon with various vegetation layouts, TEB is evaluated regarding the total shortwave radiation flux absorbed by the elements that compose the canyon. TEB simulations in summer gathered best scores for all configurations and surfaces considered, which is precisely the most relevant season to assess the cooling effect of deciduous trees under temperate climate. Mean absolute differences and biases of 6.03 and +3.50 W m−2 for road, respectively, and of 3.38 and +2.80 W m−2 for walls have been recorded in vegetationless canyons. In view of the important incident radiation flux, exceeding 1000 W m−2 at solar noon, the mean absolute percentage differences of 3 % for both surfaces remain moderate. Concerning the vegetated canyons, we noted a high variability of statistical scores depending on the vegetation layout. The greater uncertainties are found for the solar radiation fluxes received and absorbed by the high vegetation. The mean absolute differences averaged over the vegetation configurations during summertime are 21.12 ± 13.39 W m−2 or 20.92 ± 10.87 % of mean absolute percentage differences for the total shortwave absorption, but these scores are associated with acceptable biases: −15.96 ± 15.93 W m−2.

Short summary
In order to assess the potential of cooling of urban vegetation in cities, we need to refine some processes in the microclimate models running on cities as the TEB model. The shading effects of trees on roads, low vegetation (grass), or walls are key processes impacting both air and surface temperatures in the streets by reducing them and improving the thermal comfort of inhabitants. They have been implemented into the TEB model and simulations have been evaluated by a fine-scale model, SOLENE.