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Surface Albedo in Cities: Case Study in Sapporo and Tokyo, Japan

Abstract

The surface albedo of two large cities in Japan was measured using a pyranometer mounted on a helicopter to avoid the bidirectional reflectance distribution. The daytime albedo was 0.12 in the cities, which was less than that of a nearby forest (0.16). The albedo was dependent on building structure in the cities; the albedo was lower in areas with more buildings, and decreased as the aspect ratio of street canyons increased. There are two reasons for this dependency: the multiple reflection of radiation in the building canopy, as has been shown in many previous studies, and the sparse vegetation in urban areas. These two factors concurrently determine the albedo in a real city, where the vegetation amount decreases as the plan roof ratio increases.

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Acknowledgments

The Japanese Ground Self Defense Force supported the airborne observations. The GIS data of buildings were provided by the Sapporo city planning bureau and the Tokyo metropolitan government. The authors thank Dr. K. Nakagawa for providing the raw data used in NN95. The optical depth in Tokyo was measured and provided by Dr. K. Miura at the Tokyo University of Science. This study was financially supported by the joint research program of CEReS, Chiba University.

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Correspondence to Hirofumi Sugawara.

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Sugawara, H., Takamura, T. Surface Albedo in Cities: Case Study in Sapporo and Tokyo, Japan. Boundary-Layer Meteorol 153, 539–553 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10546-014-9952-0

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Keywords

  • Airborne observation
  • Albedo
  • Real urban surfaces
  • Urban canopy