Boundary-Layer Meteorology

, Volume 147, Issue 2, pp 301–327 | Cite as

Urban Morphology Influence on Urban Albedo: A Revisit with the Solene Model

  • Dominique Groleau
  • Patrice G. Mestayer


This heuristic study of the urban morphology influence on urban albedo is based on some 3,500 simulations with the Solene model. The studied configurations include square blocks in regular and staggered rows, rectangular blocks with different street widths, cross-shaped blocks, infinite street canyons and several actual districts in Marseilles, Toulouse and Nantes, France. The scanned variables are plan density, facade density, building height, layout orientation, latitude, date and time of the day. The sky-view factors of the ground and canopy surfaces are also considered. This study demonstrates the significance of the facade density, in addition to the built plan density, as the explanatory geometrical factor to characterize the urban morphology, rather than building height. On the basis of these albedo calculations the puzzling results of Kondo et al. (Boundary-Layer Meteorol 100:225–242, 2001) for the influence of building height are explained, and the plan density influence is quantitatively assessed. It is shown that the albedo relationship with plan and facade densities obtained with the regular square plot configuration may be considered as a reference for all other configurations, with the exception of the infinite street canyon that shows systematic differences for the lower plan densities. The curves representing this empirical relationship may be used as a sort of abacus for all other geometries while an approximate simple mathematical model is proposed, as well as relationships between the albedo and sky-view factors.


Albedo Radiation trapping Shortwave radiation  Sky-view factor  Urban albedo Urban climate Urban form 



Part of this work has been done when the second author was working with the Laboratory of Fluid Mechanics of the Ecole Centrale de Nantes (UMR CNRS 6598).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.École Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture de Nantes, CERMA UMR CNRS 1563LUNAM UniversitéNantes Cedex 2France
  2. 2.CNRS, Institute for Research on Urban Sciences and Techniques—IRSTV FR CNRS 2488LUNAM UniversitéNantes Cedex 03France

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