Theoretical and Applied Climatology

, Volume 133, Issue 3–4, pp 697–710 | Cite as

A model of the ground surface temperature for micrometeorological analysis

  • Julian S. Leaf
  • Evyatar ErellEmail author
Original Paper


Micrometeorological models at various scales require ground surface temperature, which may not always be measured in sufficient spatial or temporal detail. There is thus a need for a model that can calculate the surface temperature using only widely available weather data, thermal properties of the ground, and surface properties. The vegetated/permeable surface energy balance (VP-SEB) model introduced here requires no a priori knowledge of soil temperature or moisture at any depth. It combines a two-layer characterization of the soil column following the heat conservation law with a sinusoidal function to estimate deep soil temperature, and a simplified procedure for calculating moisture content. A physically based solution is used for each of the energy balance components allowing VP-SEB to be highly portable. VP-SEB was tested using field data measuring bare loess desert soil in dry weather and following rain events. Modeled hourly surface temperature correlated well with the measured data (r 2 = 0.95 for a whole year), with a root-mean-square error of 2.77 K. The model was used to generate input for a pedestrian thermal comfort study using the Index of Thermal Stress (ITS). The simulation shows that the thermal stress on a pedestrian standing in the sun on a fully paved surface, which may be over 500 W on a warm summer day, may be as much as 100 W lower on a grass surface exposed to the same meteorological conditions.


Storage flux Soil moisture Evapotranspiration Sol-air temperature Sub-surface ground temperature 



This research was made possible with the support of the Jewish National Fund.

Supplementary material

704_2017_2207_MOESM1_ESM.for (29 kb)
ESM 1 (FOR 29 kb)
704_2017_2207_MOESM2_ESM.txt (577 kb)
ESM 2 (TXT 576 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Austria 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert ResearchBen-Gurion University of the NegevSde Boqer CampusIsrael

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