Meso-scale cooling effects of high albedo surfaces: Analysis of meteorological data from White Sands National Monument and White Sands Missile Range
Meteorological data from the network of surface weather stations at White Sands Missile Range, NM, were analyzed to determine the mesoscale (~35km by 40km) impacts of albedo on surface and air temperatures. Measurements were performed in-situ at the White Sands National Monument to characterize the short wave surface albedo and air temperature of the white dunes area. In addition, several measurements of air temperatures within the Monument were made.
In this report, we analyze the impact of albedo on near-surface air temperatures during summer and develop several correlations. We also evaluate the effects of albedo on soil temperature. Our analysis considers the relationship between wind speed, wind direction, and air temperature at White Sands.
Analysis indicates that the high-albedo surface has a measurable impact on the air temperature within the White Sands area compared with air temperatures from the surrounding Missile Range. On average, the White Sands area was 1-2°C cooler than its surroundings during daytime hours in August 1992 and June 1993, and was up to 6°C cooler at times.This difference in air temperature is attributed mainly to differences in albedo; the dunes have an average measured albedo of 0.60, whereas the surrounding desert areas have an average albedo of 0.20- 0.25. On average, the soil (measured at ~1cm below surface) was on the average 5°C cooler than that of the surrounding darker area, 15°C cooler at times. No direct correlation between soil temperatures and air temperatures could be established with the available data.