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CR 54:21-34 (2012)  -  DOI:

Daytime cooling efficiency and diurnal energy balance in Phoenix, Arizona, USA

Ariane Middel1,*, Anthony J. Brazel2, Shai Kaplan2, Soe W. Myint2

1Decision Center for a Desert City, Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona 85287-8209, USA
2School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning, Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona 85287-5302, USA

ABSTRACT: Summer daytime cooling efficiency of various land cover is investigated for the urban core of Phoenix, Arizona, using the Local-Scale Urban Meteorological Parameterization Scheme (LUMPS). We examined the urban energy balance for 2 summer days in 2005 to analyze the daytime cooling-water use tradeoff and the timing of sensible heat reversal at night. The plausibility of the LUMPS model results was tested using remotely sensed surface temperatures from Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) imagery and reference evapotranspiration values from a meteorological station. Cooling efficiency was derived from sensible and latent heat flux differences. The time when the sensible heat flux turns negative (sensible heat flux transition) was calculated from LUMPS simulated hourly fluxes. Results indicate that the time when the sensible heat flux changes direction at night is strongly influenced by the heat storage capacity of different land cover types and by the amount of vegetation. Higher heat storage delayed the transition up to 3 h in the study area, while vegetation expedited the sensible heat reversal by 2 h. Cooling efficiency index results suggest that overall, the Phoenix urban core is slightly more efficient at cooling than the desert, but efficiencies do not increase much with wet fractions higher than 20%. Industrial sites with high impervious surface cover and low wet fraction have negative cooling efficiencies. Findings indicate that drier neighborhoods with heterogeneous land uses are the most efficient landscapes in balancing cooling and water use in Phoenix. However, further factors such as energy use and human vulnerability to extreme heat have to be considered in the cooling-water use tradeoff, especially under the uncertainties of future climate change.

KEY WORDS: Urban climate · Sensible heat flux transition · Cooling efficiency · LUMPS · Remote sensing · Land cover · Urban heat island · Phoenix

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Cite this article as: Middel A, Brazel AJ, Kaplan S, Myint SW (2012) Daytime cooling efficiency and diurnal energy balance in Phoenix, Arizona, USA. Clim Res 54:21-34.

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