Seventh Symposium on the Urban Environment


Interdisciplinary study of coupled water-biophysical-climate systems in a semi-arid urban environment

Steven Burian, Univ. of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT; and E. Pardyjak, C. Forster, S. Bush, I. Jeyachandran, P. Ramamurthy, M. Jensen, and N. Augustus

This paper describes on-going interdisciplinary urban hydrology research activities at the University of Utah. A team consisting of researchers from water resources engineering, hydrologic sciences, biology, mechanical engineering, and architecture and urban planning has formed as a subset of a much larger group with mutual interest in planning, analysis, and design of sustainable urban systems. The diverse team has instrumented a residential neighborhood in the Salt Lake City metropolitan region with a micrometeorological observation tower, a rain gage, soil moisture sensors, and flow meters for observing water, wastewater, and stormwater flows providing observation of the complete urban water cycle. Data from this observation network is coupled with a high fidelity database of physical (built environment), biophysical (tree/vegetation), and socioeconomic information. Experiments have been or are currently being performed to measure infiltration, spatial variability of soil moisture, and tree transpiration. In this paper an overview of results will be presented quantifying the effects of soil moisture spatial and temporal variability on evapotranspiration, temporal variation of surface infiltration and the effects on runoff, and the potential to upscale fluxes based on individual tree transpiration measurements. Preliminary efforts to integrate the observations into a water budget modeling study to estimate seasonal variability of recharge will be presented. And on-going observation network expansion with additional instruments and new catchments will be described.

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Session 3, Energy Exchange, Water Balances and Anthropogenic Fluxes
Monday, 10 September 2007, 3:45 PM-5:45 PM, Kon Tiki Ballroom

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