Physical Determinants and Reduced Models of the Rapid Cooling of Urban Surfaces During Rainfall

Hamidreza Omidvar, Elie R. Bou-Zeid, Maurizio Chiaramonte

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Using a detailed model, sensitivity analyses are conducted to identify the leading physical determinants and heat fluxes that control energy exchange between surface runoff and urban pavements during rainfall. These analyses confirm that pavement characteristics, such as albedo and thermal effusivity, strongly influence the initial temperature of the pavement before rain starts. Moreover, this sensitivity propagates to the runoff and pavement temperatures as well as to sensible heat and evaporation fluxes during and after rainfall. Heat transfer inside the runoff and pavement during rainfall is also very sensitive to the rain temperature and is the leading process in surface cooling (the classically important sensible and latent heat fluxes to the atmosphere are minor contributors). Finally, based on the findings from the sensitivity analyses, using a bulk energy approach, a reduced version of the full model is proposed. This simple model uses the spatially averaged temperatures of the runoff and pavement and can predict their temperatures and the associated energy fluxes almost as accurately as the full model. The reduced model has the added advantages of computational efficiency and simplicity of implementation in coarse earth system models.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1364-1380
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


  • earth surface temperature
  • rain temperature
  • runoff-pavement heat transfer
  • surface cooling
  • urban pavements


Dive into the research topics of 'Physical Determinants and Reduced Models of the Rapid Cooling of Urban Surfaces During Rainfall'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this