Microclimate Analysis of Observations in a Master-Planned Residential Community in Arizona

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Monday, 3 February 2014
Hall C3 (The Georgia World Congress Center )
Benjamin L. Ruddell, Arizona State University, Mesa, AZ; and W. T. L. Chow

Detailed, high-resolution meteorological measurements in urban areas are essential towards improving understanding of atmospheric processes, especially at the micro-scale (e.g. <100 m2) where climatic influences on humans are greatest. In Phoenix, AZ, microclimates of urban landscapes have been greatly modified from the native desert environment, especially in suburban areas where non-native lawns and trees are regularly utilized to reduce micro-scale climate discomfort. In this study, we present preliminary results from analyses of urban meteorological data taken within a large master-planned suburban residential neighborhood in metropolitan Phoenix (Power Ranch, Gilbert, AZ). Micro-scale climate data from (a.) fifteen dedicated weather stations scattered throughout residential back yards, and from (b.) periodic mobile traverses routed through a variety of land covers were compiled. Through GIS mapping and statistical analysis, these data are examined with respect to variations of temporal (e.g. summer vs. winter; diurnal changes in atmospheric stability) and spatial (e.g. land use and land cover density; vegetation types) conditions. Correlations with residential outdoor water used for landscape irrigation are also investigated, and the implications towards general sustainability of the desert community are discussed. Lastly, these climate data will enable the validation of micro-scale urban climate models for future critiques and possibly improve the physical representation of the urban land surface and microclimate processes in these models.