Theoretical and Applied Climatology

, Volume 103, Issue 3–4, pp 501–517 | Cite as

Energy balance in urban Mexico City: observation and parameterization during the MILAGRO/MCMA-2006 field campaign

  • Erik VelascoEmail author
  • Shelley Pressley
  • Rasa Grivicke
  • Eugene Allwine
  • Luisa T. Molina
  • Brian Lamb
Original Paper


The parameterization of the energy balance from a residential and commercial neighborhood of Mexico City was investigated using direct measurements of radiative and heat fluxes carried out during the MILAGRO/MCMA-2006 field campaign as a reference. The measured fluxes were used to evaluate different models of the energy balance based on parameterizations that require standard meteorological observations: ambient temperature, relative humidity, atmospheric pressure and cloudiness. It was found that these models reproduce with reasonable accuracy the diurnal features of the radiative and heat fluxes. The largest differences between modeled and observed fluxes correspond to the incoming longwave radiation, mainly due to errors in the cloudiness data. This paper contributes to the understanding of the energy partitioning in (sub)tropical urban environments, particularly in the developing world, where energy balance models have not been evaluated.


Mexico City Outgoing Longwave Radiation Longwave Radiation Urban Surface Urban Canopy 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This study was supported by the National Science Foundation (ATM-0528227) and the Metropolitan Environmental Commission of Mexico. E. Velasco acknowledges the postdoctoral funding provided by the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences of the National University of Singapore for the data analysis. The assistance and logistical support provided by the Atmospheric Monitoring System of the Federal District Government (SIMAT) was fundamental for the satisfactory development of this study. The cloudiness data were provided by J. Fast and J. Barnard from the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and B. de Foy from Saint Louis University. The K↓ data used in the second evaluation of the modeling approach was provided by E. Alvarez from the National Meteorological Service. The authors acknowledge the comprehensive comments made by two anonymous reviewers that helped to improve substantially the original manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Erik Velasco
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Shelley Pressley
    • 3
  • Rasa Grivicke
    • 3
  • Eugene Allwine
    • 3
  • Luisa T. Molina
    • 2
  • Brian Lamb
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Geography, Faculty of Arts and Social SciencesNational University of SingaporeSingaporeSingapore
  2. 2.Molina Center for Energy and the Environment (MCE2)La JollaUSA
  3. 3.Laboratory for Atmospheric Research, Department of Civil and Environmental EngineeringWashington State UniversityPullmanUSA

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