Theoretical and Applied Climatology

, Volume 84, Issue 1, pp 137–149

Where does all the energy go? Surface energy partitioning in suburban Christchurch under stable wintertime conditions

  • R. A. Spronken-Smith
  • M. Kossmann
  • P. Zawar-Reza
Article

DOI: 10.1007/s00704-005-0151-2

Cite this article as:
Spronken-Smith, R., Kossmann, M. & Zawar-Reza, P. Theor. Appl. Climatol. (2006) 84: 137. doi:10.1007/s00704-005-0151-2
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Summary

Typical observations of surface energy fluxes in urban areas usually employ the eddy covariance approach with measurements from a tower at a height well above the roughness elements. Net radiation and the turbulent fluxes are directly measured, the anthropogenic flux may be estimated and the storage flux is calculated as an energy balance residual. This paper reports both measurement and modelling of energy fluxes during wintertime in suburban areas of Christchurch, New Zealand. Under settled anticyclonic conditions, a strong inversion can occur over the city which severely restricts turbulent mixing. Even after sunrise the turbulent fluxes are small, and if one assumes advection is negligible, this means the storage flux increases in importance to very high levels. This paper suggests that these high storage rates are physically unrealistic for this environment. Rather, it is likely that some energy, which is assumed to be dissipated as heat storage, is more likely lost through mesoscale advection or attributed to errors caused by unsuitable measurement techniques under conditions with low friction velocity. However, even these two processes cannot fully account for flux loss. A full study is recommended to resolve this issue and meanwhile, caution is advised when applying current research methodology to estimate storage fluxes in urban areas in stable wintertime conditions.

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag/Wien 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. A. Spronken-Smith
    • 1
    • 2
  • M. Kossmann
    • 2
    • 3
  • P. Zawar-Reza
    • 2
  1. 1.Current affiliation: Higher Education Development Centre, University of OtagoDunedinNew Zealand
  2. 2.University of CanterburyChristchurchNew Zealand
  3. 3.Current affiliation: Deutscher WetterdienstOffenbach a. M.Germany