Coupling of urban energy balance model with 3-D radiation model to derive human thermal (dis)comfort

Int J Biometeorol. 2019 Jun;63(6):711-722. doi: 10.1007/s00484-018-1642-z. Epub 2018 Dec 5.


While capabilities in urban climate modeling have substantially increased in recent decades, the interdependency of changes in environmental surface properties and human (dis)comfort have only recently received attention. The open-source solar long-wave environmental irradiance geometry (SOLWEIG) model is one of the state-of-the-art models frequently used for urban (micro-)climatic studies. Here, we present updated calculation schemes for SOLWEIG allowing the improved prediction of surface temperatures (wall and ground). We illustrate that parameterizations based on measurements of global radiation on a south-facing vertical plane obtain better results compared to those based on solar elevation. Due to the limited number of ground surface temperature parameterizations in SOLWEIG, we implement the two-layer force-restore method for calculating ground temperature for various soil conditions. To characterize changes in urban canyon air temperature (Tcan), we couple the calculation method as used in the Town Energy Balance (TEB) model. Comparison of model results and observations (obtained during field campaigns) indicates a good agreement between modeled and measured Tcan, with an explained variance of R2 = 0.99. Finally, we implement an energy balance model for vertically mounted PV modules to contrast different urban surface properties. Specifically, we consider (i) an environment comprising dark asphalt and a glass facade and (ii) an environment comprising bright concrete and a PV facade. The model results show a substantially decreased Tcan (by up to - 1.65°C) for the latter case, indicating the potential of partially reducing/mitigating urban heat island effects.

Keywords: PV energy balance; SOLWEIG; Surface temperature parameterization; UTCI.

MeSH terms

  • Cities
  • Climate*
  • Humans
  • Microclimate*
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Temperature