Contribution of impervious surfaces to urban evaporation

P. Ramamurthy, Elie R. Bou-Zeid

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

84 Scopus citations


Observational data and the Princeton urban canopy model, with its detailed representation of urban heterogeneity and hydrological processes, are combined to study evaporation and turbulent water vapor transport over urban areas. The analyses focus on periods before and after precipitation events, at two sites in the Northeastern United States. Our results indicate that while evaporation from concrete pavements, building rooftops, and asphalt surfaces is discontinuous and intermittent, overall these surfaces accounted for nearly 18% of total latent heat fluxes (LE) during a relatively wet 10 day period. More importantly, these evaporative fluxes have a significant impact on the urban surface energy balance, particularly during the 48 h following a rain event when impervious evaporation is the highest. Thus, their accurate representation in urban models is critical. Impervious evaporation after rainfall is also shown to correlate the sources of heat and water at the earth surface, resulting in a conditional scalar transport similarity over urban terrain following rain events. Key Points Evaporation from impervious surfaces is important in urban areas New urban models can capture this evaporation quite accurately Impervious evaporation results in scalar transport similarity after rainfall

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2889-2902
Number of pages14
JournalWater Resources Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Water Science and Technology


  • impervious surfaces
  • scalar similarity
  • surface energy budget
  • urban canopy models
  • urban evapotranspiration
  • urban microclimatology


Dive into the research topics of 'Contribution of impervious surfaces to urban evaporation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this