Impacts of Large-Scale Surface Modifications on Meteorological Conditions and Energy Use: A 10-Region Modeling Study

This paper summarizes results from a mesoscale modeling study to quantify the possible meteorological and energy-use impacts of large-scale increases in surface albedo and vegetative fraction.  Ten regions in the U.S. were characterized and simulated in base- and modified-surface conditions.  Time- and space-dependent meteorological variables were simulated for each region in four 3-day episodes to represent a range of seasonal variations.

Using a simple interpolative procedure, a complete year of hourly weather data was created for each region (based on episodic meteorological simulation results) and input into energy-use models.  The modified weather input was used to assess the effects of large-scale albedo and vegetative fraction changes on annual energy consumption in each of the ten areas targeted in this study.  The simulations suggest annual electricity savings of between 1and 6.7 kWh m−2 (of roof area) in residential neighborhoods and between 2 and 6.1 kWh m−2 in office areas, depending on region. Annual gas penalties amount to up to 34.8 MJ m−2 (of roof area) in residential neighborhoods and up to 21.1 MJ m−2 in office areas.

Publication Date: April 1999

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