Mesoscale Climatic Simulation of Surface Air Temperature Cooling by Highly Reflective Greenhouses in SE Spain
A long-term local cooling trend in surface air temperature has been monitored at the largest concentration of reflective greenhouses in the world, at the Province of Almeria, SE Spain, associated with a dramatic increase in surface albedo in the area. The availability of reliable long-term climatic field data at this site offers a unique opportunity to test the skill of mesoscale meteorological models describing and predicting the impacts of land use change on local climate. Using the Weather Research and Forecast (WRF) mesoscale model, we have run a sensitivity experiment to simulate the impact of the observed surface albedo change on monthly and annual surface air temperatures. The model output showed a mean annual cooling of 0.25 °C associated with a 0.09 albedo increase, and a reduction of 22.8 W m–2 of net incoming solar radiation at surface. Mean reduction of summer daily maximum temperatures was 0.49 °C, with the largest single-day decrease equal to 1.3 °C. WRF output was evaluated and compared with observations. A mean annual warm bias (MBE) of 0.42 °C was estimated. High correlation coefficients (R2 > 0.9) were found between modeled and observed values. This study has particular interest in the assessment of the potential for urban temperature cooling by cool roofs deployment projects, as well as in the evaluation of mesoscale climatic models performance.