Theoretical and Applied Climatology

, Volume 110, Issue 3, pp 373–384 | Cite as

Spatial and temporal variability of urban tree canopy temperature during summer 2010 in Berlin, Germany

  • Fred MeierEmail author
  • Dieter Scherer
Original Paper


Trees form a significant part of the urban vegetation. Their meteorological and climatological effects at all scales in urban environments make them a flexible tool for creating a landscape oriented to the needs of an urban dweller. This study aims at quantifying the spatio-temporal patterns of canopy temperature (T C) and canopy-to-air temperature difference (∆T C) in relation to meteorological conditions and tree-specific (physiological) and urban site-specific characteristics. We observed T C and ∆T C of 67 urban trees (18 species) using a high-resolution thermal-infrared (TIR) camera and meteorological measurements in the city of Berlin, Germany. TIR images were recorded at 1-min intervals over a period of 2 months from 1st July to 31st August 2010. The results showed that ∆T C depends on tree species, leaf size and fraction of impervious surfaces. Average canopy temperature was nearly equal to air temperature. Species-specific maximum ∆T C varied between 1.9 ± 0.3 K (Populus nigra), 2.9 ± 0.3 K (Quercus robur), 3.2 ± 0.5 K (Fagus sylvatica), 3.9 ± 1.0 K (Platanus acerifolia), 4.6 ± 0.2 K (Acer pseudoplatanus), 5.0 ± 0.5 K (A. platanoides) and 5.6 ± 1.1 K (A. campestre). We analysed ∆T C for a hot and dry period (A) and a warm and wet period (B). The range of species-specific ∆T C at noon was nearly equal, i.e. 4.4 K for period A and 4.2 K for period B. Trees surrounded by high fraction of impervious surfaces showed consistently higher ∆T C. Knowledge of species-specific canopy temperature and the impacts of urban structures are essential in order to optimise the benefits from trees in cities. However, comprehensive evaluation and optimisation should take the full range of climatological effects into account.


Street Canyon Leaf Size Impervious Surface Canopy Temperature Urban Tree 
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.



We would like to thank Petra Grasse (Institute of Meteorology, Freie Universität Berlin) for providing the cloud data and Jörn Welsch (Urban and Environmental Information System, Senate Department for Urban Development) for providing the impervious soil coverage map for Berlin. Especially we would like to thank Albert Polze, Britta Jänicke and Marco Otto for assistance in tree data collection and analysis.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EcologyTechnische Universität BerlinBerlinGermany

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