13 May 2024
 | 13 May 2024
Status: this preprint is open for discussion.

Assessing Soil and Potential Air Temperature Coupling Using PALM-4U: Implications for Idealized Scenarios

Patricia Glocke, Christopher Claus Holst, Basit Ali Khan, and Susanne Amelie Benz

Abstract. Underground heat extremes amplified by e.g., underground infrastructure or badly adjusted geothermal systems have long been discussed in geosciences. However, there is little emphasis on the exchange between these subsurface heat extremes and the atmosphere. To address the issue, this study investigates the impact of varying soil temperatures on potential air temperatures in an idealized domain using the turbulence and building resolving large eddy simulation urban micro-climate model PALM-4U. This involves two steps: first we test if and how idealized domains can be simulated, second the coupling between surface and subsurface energy fluxes or rather temperatures in air and soil are in focus. We develop several scenarios, distinguishing between cyclic or Dirichlet/radiation boundary conditions along the x-axis, between summer and winter, as well as between various land cover types. Our results demonstrate that cyclic boundary conditions induce modifications of the potential air temperatures due to changes in the soil temperature. The magnitude of the impact varies with respect to the tested land covers, which primarily affect absolute temperatures. Daytime and season have a larger influence on the magnitude of the modifications. A 5 K increase in subsurface temperatures at 2 m depth results in a maximum of a 0.38 K increase for near surface potential air temperatures in winter between 09:00 and 10:00 local time after three days of simulation. When soil temperatures are decreased, we find predominantly inverse patterns. The least influence is found during summer at 09:00 local time where the elevated soil temperatures increase potential air temperatures by only 0.02 K over short- and tall grass, and 0.18 K over bare soil. When using Dirichlet/radiation boundary conditions, the atmosphere cannot develop freely and changing soil temperatures do not impact potential air temperatures.

These results help to enhance our understanding of the coupling between soil- and atmospheric temperatures and also provide recommendations for the simulability of idealized but reality-oriented scenarios in PALM-4U. It is one of the first studies that demonstrates that heat and cold sources in the soil can affect atmospheric parameters.

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Patricia Glocke, Christopher Claus Holst, Basit Ali Khan, and Susanne Amelie Benz

Status: open (until 25 Jun 2024)

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Patricia Glocke, Christopher Claus Holst, Basit Ali Khan, and Susanne Amelie Benz
Patricia Glocke, Christopher Claus Holst, Basit Ali Khan, and Susanne Amelie Benz


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Short summary
We show that temperature anomalies of +/-5 K at a depth of 2 m in the soil can impact atmospheric potential air temperatures in idealized domains, utilizing the urban micro-climate model PALM-4U, depending on the season, daytime, land cover, and lateral boundary conditions of the domain. The magnitude of change depends mostly on seasonality and daytime. This amounts between 0.1 K and 0.4 K. Land covers have an influence on the absolute temperature but a smaller one on the magnitude.