Matching Items (3)

Assessing Summertime Urban Air Conditioning Consumption in a Semiarid Environment

Description

Evaluation of built environment energy demand is necessary in light of global projections of urban expansion. Of particular concern are rapidly expanding urban areas in environments where consumption requirements for

Evaluation of built environment energy demand is necessary in light of global projections of urban expansion. Of particular concern are rapidly expanding urban areas in environments where consumption requirements for cooling are excessive. Here, we simulate urban air conditioning (AC) electric consumption for several extreme heat events during summertime over a semiarid metropolitan area with the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model coupled to a multilayer building energy scheme. Observed total load values obtained from an electric utility company were split into two parts, one linked to meteorology (i.e., AC consumption) which was compared to WRF simulations, and another to human behavior. WRF-simulated non-dimensional AC consumption profiles compared favorably to diurnal observations in terms of both amplitude and timing. The hourly ratio of AC to total electricity consumption accounted for ~53% of diurnally averaged total electric demand, ranging from ~35% during early morning to ~65% during evening hours. Our work highlights the importance of modeling AC electricity consumption and its role for the sustainable planning of future urban energy needs. Finally, the methodology presented in this article establishes a new energy consumption-modeling framework that can be applied to any urban environment where the use of AC systems is prevalent.

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  • 2013-08-29

Seasonal Hydroclimatic Impacts of Sun Corridor Expansion

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Conversion of natural to urban land forms imparts influence on local and regional hydroclimate via modification of the surface energy and water balance, and consideration of such effects due to

Conversion of natural to urban land forms imparts influence on local and regional hydroclimate via modification of the surface energy and water balance, and consideration of such effects due to rapidly expanding megapolitan areas is necessary in light of the growing global share of urban inhabitants. Based on a suite of ensemble-based, multi-year simulations using the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model, we quantify seasonally varying hydroclimatic impacts of the most rapidly expanding megapolitan area in the US: Arizona's Sun Corridor, centered upon the Greater Phoenix metropolitan area. Using a scenario-based urban expansion approach that accounts for the full range of Sun Corridor growth uncertainty through 2050, we show that built environment induced warming for the maximum development scenario is greatest during the summer season (regionally averaged warming over AZ exceeds 1 °C).

Warming remains significant during the spring and fall seasons (regionally averaged warming over AZ approaches 0.9 °C during both seasons), and is least during the winter season (regionally averaged warming over AZ of 0.5 °C). Impacts from a minimum expansion scenario are reduced, with regionally averaged warming ranging between 0.1 and 0.3 °C for all seasons except winter, when no warming impacts are diagnosed. Integration of highly reflective cool roofs within the built environment, increasingly recognized as a cost-effective option intended to offset the warming influence of urban complexes, reduces urban-induced warming considerably. However, impacts on the hydrologic cycle are aggravated via enhanced evapotranspiration reduction, leading to a 4% total accumulated precipitation decrease relative to the non-adaptive maximum expansion scenario. Our results highlight potentially unintended consequences of this adaptation approach within rapidly expanding megapolitan areas, and emphasize the need for undeniably sustainable development paths that account for hydrologic impacts in addition to continued focus on mean temperature effects.

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  • 2012-09-07

An Alternative Explanation of the Semiarid Urban Area “Oasis Effect”

Description

This research evaluates the climatic summertime representation of the diurnal cycle of near-surface temperature using the Weather Research and Forecasting System (WRF) over the rapidly urbanizing and water-vulnerable Phoenix metropolitan

This research evaluates the climatic summertime representation of the diurnal cycle of near-surface temperature using the Weather Research and Forecasting System (WRF) over the rapidly urbanizing and water-vulnerable Phoenix metropolitan area. A suite of monthly, high-resolution (2 km grid spacing) simulations are conducted during the month of July with both a contemporary landscape and a hypothetical presettlement scenario. WRF demonstrates excellent agreement in the representation of the daily to monthly diurnal cycle of near-surface temperatures, including the accurate simulation of maximum daytime temperature timing. Thermal sensitivity to anthropogenic land use and land cover change (LULCC), assessed via replacement of the modern-day landscape with natural shrubland, is small on the regional scale. The WRF-simulated characterization of the diurnal cycle, supported by previous observational analyses, illustrates two distinct and opposing impacts on the urbanized diurnal cycle of the Phoenix metro area, with evening and nighttime warming partially offset by daytime cooling. The simulated nighttime urban heat island (UHI) over this semiarid urban complex is explained by well-known mechanisms (slow release of heat from within the urban fabric stored during daytime and increased emission of longwave radiation from the urban canopy toward the surface). During daylight hours, the limited vegetation and dry semidesert region surrounding metro Phoenix warms at greater rates than the urban complex. Although prior work has suggested that daytime temperatures are lower within the urban complex owing to the addition of residential and agricultural irrigation (i.e., “oasis effect”) we show that modification of Phoenix's surrounding environment to a biome more representative of temperate regions eliminates the daytime urban cooling. Our results indicate that surrounding environmental conditions, including land cover and availability of soil moisture, play a principal role in establishing the nature and evolution of the diurnal cycle of near-surface temperature for the greater Phoenix, Arizona, metropolitan area relative to its rural and undeveloped counterpart.

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  • 2011-12-11