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Evaluation of an urban land surface scheme over a tropical suburban neighborhood

Abstract

The present study evaluates the performance of the SURFEX (TEB/ISBA) urban land surface parametrization scheme in offline mode over a suburban area of Singapore. Model performance (diurnal and seasonal characteristics) is investigated using measurements of energy balance fluxes, surface temperatures of individual urban facets, and canyon air temperature collected during an 11-month period. Model performance is best for predicting net radiation and sensible heat fluxes (both are slightly overpredicted during daytime), but weaker for latent heat (underpredicted during daytime) and storage heat fluxes (significantly underpredicted daytime peaks and nighttime storage). Daytime surface temperatures are generally overpredicted, particularly those containing horizontal surfaces such as roofs and roads. This result, together with those for the storage heat flux, point to the need for a better characterization of the thermal and radiative characteristics of individual urban surface facets in the model. Significant variation exists in model behavior between dry and wet seasons, the latter generally being better predicted. The simple vegetation parametrization used is inadequate to represent seasonal moisture dynamics, sometimes producing unrealistically dry conditions.

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Acknowledgements

The authors acknowledge funding from the National University of Singapore under grant R-109-000-091-112 and the National Research Foundation Singapore through the Singapore - MIT Alliance for Research and Technology CENSAM research programme. M. Demuzere was funded by a Flemish regional government FWO (Fund for Scientific Research) post-doctoral position. The authors thank Michelle Cher (East Lodge Hostel) for facilitating access to the Telok Kurau measurement site.

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Correspondence to Suraj Harshan.

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Harshan, S., Roth, M., Velasco, E. et al. Evaluation of an urban land surface scheme over a tropical suburban neighborhood. Theor Appl Climatol 133, 867–886 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00704-017-2221-7

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