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Transmissivity of solar radiation through crowns of single urban trees—application for outdoor thermal comfort modelling

Journal article
Authors Janina Konarska
Fredrik Lindberg
Annika Larsson
Sofia Thorsson
Björn Holmer
Published in Theoretical and Applied Climatology
Volume 117
Issue 3-4
Pages 363-376
ISSN 0177-798X
Publication year 2014
Published at Department of Earth Sciences
Pages 363-376
Language en
Links dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00704-013-1000-...
Keywords urban trees, vegetation, transmissivity, direct solar radiation, mean radiant temperature, SOLWEIG
Subject categories Climate Research, Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences

Abstract

Trees play an important role in mitigating heat stress on hot summer days, mainly due to their ability to provide shade. However, an important issue is also the reduction of solar radiation caused by trees in winter, in particular at high latitudes. In this study, we examine the transmissivity of total and direct solar radiation through crowns of single street trees in Göteborg, Sweden. One coniferous and four deciduous trees of species common in northern European cities were selected for case study. Radiation measurements were conducted on nine clear days in 2011–2012 in foliated and leafless tree conditions using two sunshine pyranometers— one located in shade of a tree and the other one on the roof of an adjacent building. The measurements showed a significant reduction of total and direct shortwave radiation in the shade of the studied trees, both foliated and leafless. Average transmissivity of direct solar radiation through the foliated and defoliated tree crowns ranged from 1.3 to 5.3 % and from 40.2 to 51.9 %, respectively. The results confirm the potential of a single urban tree to reduce heat stress in urban environment. However, the relatively low transmissivity through defoliated trees should be considered while planning street trees in high latitude cities, where the solar access in winter is limited. The results were used for parameterisation of SOLWEIG model for a better estimation of the mean radiant temperature (Tmrt). Measured values of transmissivity of solar radiation through both foliated and leafless trees were found to improve the model performance.

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