Quantifying evapotranspiration from urban green roofs: a comparison of chamber measurements with commonly used predictive methods

Environ Sci Technol. 2014 Sep 2;48(17):10273-81. doi: 10.1021/es501699h. Epub 2014 Aug 11.


Quantifying green roof evapotranspiration (ET) in urban climates is important for assessing environmental benefits, including stormwater runoff attenuation and urban heat island mitigation. In this study, a dynamic chamber method was developed to quantify ET on two extensive green roofs located in New York City, NY. Hourly chamber measurements taken from July 2009 to December 2009 and April 2012 to October 2013 illustrate both diurnal and seasonal variations in ET. Observed monthly total ET depth ranged from 0.22 cm in winter to 15.36 cm in summer. Chamber results were compared to two predictive methods for estimating ET; namely the Penman-based ASCE Standardized Reference Evapotranspiration (ASCE RET) equation, and an energy balance model, both parametrized using on-site environmental conditions. Dynamic chamber ET results were similar to ASCE RET estimates; however, the ASCE RET equation overestimated bottommost ET values during the winter months, and underestimated peak ET values during the summer months. The energy balance method was shown to underestimate ET compared the ASCE RET equation. The work highlights the utility of the chamber method for quantifying green roof evapotranspiration and indicates green roof ET might be better estimated by Penman-based evapotranspiration equations than energy balance methods.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cities*
  • Environmental Restoration and Remediation / methods*
  • Humidity
  • Least-Squares Analysis
  • Models, Theoretical
  • New York City
  • Reference Standards
  • Thermodynamics
  • Volatilization