Data from two contrasting neighborhoods in Vancouver, BC, Canada were used in combination with data from a rural reference site to explore the effect of urban vegetation and garden irrigation on the surface energy balance partitioning in cities. Both suburban neighborhoods are composed of single-family residences, but one neighborhood has substantially less vegetation, less irrigation, and approximately twice the number of homes per area. Each of the two neighborhoods features simultaneously operated towers that provide data on net all-wave radiation, sensible and latent heat fluxes (by means of eddy covariance). At eight residential lawns - that are typical for the footprint of the two towers - soil hydrology sites have been installed. The soil hydrology sites feature each a TDR system, soil temperature, soil-heat flux, and surface wetness sensors as well as water meters (water consumption of a single home) for a range of irrigation regimes and management practices. Additionally, a rural site with similar instrumentation over non-managed and non-irrigated grassland serves as a reference case. Detailed spatial information in a 1 km circle around the flux towers is available from airborne LIDAR measurements and satellite imagery.
In this presentation, we discuss first results from a one-month intensive observation period in summer 2008. We relate the observed integral energy balance partitioning at tower tops to surface characteristics and patchiness, to the surface water balance, and to rural reference conditions.