The Energy Balance of Urban Microclimates

EPA Grant Number: CR830890C006
Subproject: this is subproject number R830890C006 , established and managed by the Center Director under grant CR830890
(EPA does not fund or establish subprojects; EPA awards and manages the overall grant for this center).

Center: Center for Environmental Science
Center Director: Frederick, John
Title: The Energy Balance of Urban Microclimates
Investigators: Barzyk, Timothy M , Frederick, John
Institution: University of Chicago
EPA Project Officer: Chung, Serena
Project Period: July 1, 2003 through June 30, 2004 (Extended to June 30, 2006)
RFA: Targeted Research Center (2004) Recipients Lists
Research Category: Hazardous Waste/Remediation , Targeted Research


Urban microclimates are discrete areas where, as a consequence of urban development, surface temperatures and energy fluxes between the ground and atmosphere may differ from those in nearby regions. Construction materials and other urban landscape features can alter surface radiation components, regional weather and atmospheric flows. The consequences are air and surface temperatures in urban environments that may differ from those in less-developed settings characterized by extensive soil and vegetative cover.

The objective of this project is to document the effects of urban development on the fluxes of energy that act to heat and cool urban surfaces, together with the consequent effects on surface temperature. This is accomplished by combining a set of radiative and meteorological measurements with a quantitative model of the energy balance of the ground. We here describe the measurement sites and instruments, followed by a summary of an energy balance model for application to artificial surfaces. Energy fluxes from solar and terrestrial radiation, sensible heat transport, heat conduction and evaporative cooling are deduced for urban sites with varying characteristics. Comparison of results deduced for different locations illustrates the range of conditions that prevail in various urban microclimates.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this subproject: View all 2 publications for this subprojectView all 9 publications for this center

Supplemental Keywords:

microclimates, urban heat island, energy balance,, Scientific Discipline, Air, Environmental Monitoring, Ecology and Ecosystems, Engineering, Chemistry, & Physics, atmospheric measurement, atmospheric reactions, urban microclimate, air modeling, urban air

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 2004
  • 2005
  • Final Report

  • Main Center Abstract and Reports:

    CR830890    Center for Environmental Science

    Subprojects under this Center: (EPA does not fund or establish subprojects; EPA awards and manages the overall grant for this center).
    CR830890C001 The Urban Measurements Project—The Urban Atmosphere Observatory
    CR830890C002 The Urban Data Analysis and Modeling Project
    CR830890C003 Attenuation of Ultraviolet Solar Radiation by Cloudy Skies: Links to Urban Air Quality
    CR830890C004 Measurements of Black Carbon in Chicago: Implications for Controls on Diesel Emissions
    CR830890C005 Attenuation of Visible Sunlight by Limited Visibility and Cloudiness
    CR830890C006 The Energy Balance of Urban Microclimates