Cloud Impacts on Pavement Temperature in Energy Balance Models

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Tuesday, 6 January 2015: 5:15 PM
131C (Phoenix Convention Center - West and North Buildings)
Curtis L. Walker, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE

Forecast systems provide decision support for end-users ranging from the solar energy industry to municipalities concerned with road safety. Pavement temperature is an important variable when considering vehicle response to various weather conditions. A complex, yet direct relationship exists between tire and pavement temperatures. Literature has shown that as tire temperature increases, friction decreases which affects vehicle performance. Many forecast systems suffer from inaccurate radiation forecasts resulting in part from the inability to model different types of clouds and their influence on radiation. This research focused on forecast improvement by determining how cloud type impacts the amount of shortwave radiation reaching the surface and subsequent pavement temperatures. The study region was the Great Plains where surface solar radiation data were obtained from the High Plains Regional Climate Center's Automated Weather Data Network stations. Road pavement temperature data were obtained from the Meteorological Assimilation Data Ingest System. Cloud properties and radiative transfer quantities were obtained from the Clouds and Earth's Radiant Energy System mission via Aqua and Terra Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer satellite products. An additional cloud data set was incorporated from the Naval Research Laboratory Cloud Classification algorithm. Statistical analyses using a modified nearest neighbor approach were first performed relating shortwave radiation variability with road pavement temperature fluctuations. Then statistical associations were determined between the shortwave radiation and cloud property data sets. Preliminary results suggest that substantial pavement forecasting improvement is possible with the inclusion of cloud-specific information. Future model sensitivity testing seeks to quantify the magnitude of forecast improvement.