GIS-based regionalisation of radiation, temperature and coupling measures in complex terrain for low mountain ranges

Research output: Contribution to journalResearch articleContributedpeer-review


  • Janet Häntzschel - , TUD Dresden University of Technology (Author)
  • Valeri Goldberg - , TUD Dresden University of Technology (Author)
  • Christian Bernhofer - , TUD Dresden University of Technology (Author)


In low mountain-range areas with complex topography, climate elements show a high variability caused by manifold interactions between relief and land use. The lack of continuous measurements demands concepts for the transfer of regional climatic information to smaller scales. In this study, a radiation model and a coupled vegetation atmosphere model using GIS were combined to estimate radiation balances, temperature and evapotranspiration as well as coupling and feedback mechanisms between vegetation and atmosphere of small-scale heterogeneous areas. In the system HIRGIS, these approaches were parameterised with the output of the vegetation-boundary layer model HIRVAC and transferred in a GIS (ArcView) environment to consider topographic influences including sky view factors as well as the influence of different land uses (e.g. pasture and forest) especially on net radiation. Depending on the horizontal resolution of the digital elevation data, it is feasible to model area-related meteorological surface data without any interpolation methods and associated loss of precision. The results are applicable to water budget modelling, forest management, alternative energy supply or downscaling of satellite information. To illustrate the results, the ar ea of the Tharandter Wald near Dresden as well as the Sperrgraben watershed in the Bavarian Alps were selected. The results clearly show the combined effects of topography and land use. The differences of solar irradiance on a clear spring morning between slopes oriented east-west and south-east in the Tharandter Wald reach up to 800 W/m2. The daily sum of evapotranspiration on a steep, south-facing spruce-covered surface in the Sperrgraben watershed is two times higher than the evapotranspiration on a north-facing grass surface. Model results match data collected at the 'Anchor Station Thar andter Wald' and from the Sperrgraben watershed for the periods under investigation.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-42
Number of pages10
JournalMeteorological Applications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2005
Externally publishedYes


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