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An Evaluation Method of the Effect of Observation Environment on Air Temperature Measurement


Near-surface air temperature is the most important variable in the climatic analysis of global warming. The air temperature near the surface is affected by the artificial surface (asphalt, concrete and buildings for example) surrounding the thermometer. However, there is no quantitative method for evaluating the observational environment. Therefore, a practical evaluation method with a scientific basis is required to aid observational network managers and data users. The magnitude of the artificial surface influence on the air temperature and its characteristics are investigated using numerical experiments with various road widths and wind speeds. The results show that the temperature increase in the lee of the road depends on the distance from the road, the road width, the wind speed and the thermal stratification and that the temperature increase can be estimated using an analytical footprint model. In order to estimate the largest value of the temperature increase, a function is developed from the footprint model; it depends on the normalized distance based on the road width, and thus can be calculated easily. A practical method using this function is proposed for the evaluation of the effect of the observational environment.

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The author would like to express his sincere thanks to Dr. M. Bruse. His quick answers via the ENVI-met bulletin board were very helpful to understand the ENVI-met model. Thanks are also due to Dr. S. Haginoya for his data of the soil moisture that were useful in determining the initial value for the simulations.

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Correspondence to Nobuyuki Kinoshita.

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Kinoshita, N. An Evaluation Method of the Effect of Observation Environment on Air Temperature Measurement. Boundary-Layer Meteorol 152, 91–105 (2014).

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  • Footprint
  • Observations
  • Siting of thermometers
  • Temperature