Sustainicum Collection

Consus The aim of the project is to establish a regional science-society network for sustainability innovations in Albania and Kosovo in order to strengthen the connection and collaboration of institutions in the field of higher education, research and practice.

Resource facts

  • Less than 5 students
    5 to 10 students
  • 4-7 lecture units
  • Internet connection necessary
  • English, German

Resource Description

Instruction file

Additional attachments

Energy balance and energy flows in the environment – Influence of shade conditions on ground surface temperatures(Resource ID: 200)

This building block contains directions for the completion of the experiments listed below. A description of the basic conditions, which must be met in order to complete them, is also included. The experiments demonstrate the influence of shade conditions on the energy balance and the effects of shade on ground surface temperature.

Authors: Prof. Dr. Philipp Weihs, Prof. Dr.  Josef Eitzinger, Ing. Wolfgang Laube

Basic concept of the building block

The following experiment, which can be carried out on various homogeneous paved surfaces, demonstrates the influence of shade on outdoor ground surface areas. Students should be able to understand the differences between the radiation balance of a shaded area and that of a sunny area, as well as be able to measure and quantify these phenomena.

Description of the building block  

This building block contains directions for the completion of the experiments listed below. A description of the basic conditions, which must be met in order to complete them, is also included. The experiments demonstrate the influence of shade conditions on the energy balance and the effects of shade on ground surface temperature.

The measurements quantify the spatial and temporal dynamics of energy flows in our environment and can be carried out over a time period of one day (cloudless conditions are necessary).

The temporal variability of the energy balance components and radiation balance is examined with the help of measurements from a two-component net radiometer, which separately measures shortwave radiation (albedo) and long wave radiation (upward and downward flows). The two-component net radiometer is mounted on a tripod.

Using this device, measurements of the radiation balance can be taken in the shade (of an object or building) and in the direct sun. The measuring device is moved from one location to the other every ten minutes and vice versa.

In order to be able to clearly differentiate between the two sites in the data, the camera should be covered with an opaque cloth one minute before changing positions.

The temporal variability of the radiation balance measurements is additionally analyzed using fish-eye images (horizontal constraints, shade conditions). The horizontal constraints and the shade conditions of the individual locations are defined and modeled using the fish-eye images and with the help of the software program Hemiview. The data recordings are taken with a Campbell datalogger. The online visualization of the data can be carried out with a laptop and measuring software from Campbell.

The various radiation flows in the shade and in the sun are quantified. Surfaces around the Exner and Gregor Mendel buildings and the BOKU trial site in Groß-Enzersdorf are well suited for the trials.

The building block is divided into four steps:

Step 1: Directions for conducting the experiment

Step 2: Setting-up the experiment

Step 3: Conducting the experiment

Step 4: Analyzing and interpreting the data

Course materials include:

  • Short instructions to the building block
  • Recommendations for implementing the building block into the course
  • Bibliography and links
Learning Outcomes
This building block is appropriate for all courses that are hands-on and exercise-oriented and focus on the balance of energy, radiation and heat generation. Students should be able to understand the difference between the radiation balances of sunny and shaded areas and be able to quantify them using measurements.
Relevance for Sustainability
Change in radiation and energy balance through sensible city and neighborhood planning and design, as well as by using the cooling effects of shade.
Related Teaching Resources
    Preparation Efforts
    Sources and Links

    1) Hans Häckel, 1993: Meteorologie, 402 S., Verlag Eugen Ulme, Stuttgart

    2) Faltis, Cecylia, 2008 Einfluss von schwarzen Hagelnetzen auf das Mikroklima in einer Südtiroler Apfelanlage, Diplomarbeit, Fakultät für Lebenswissenschaften, Universität Wien 

    3) G. Holzapfel, P. Weihs, L. Stockreiter, and E. Hoffmann (2012): Determination of the Annual Shading Potential of Salix Purpurea Coppice using Hemispherical Photographs. [Poster] [EGU General Assembly 2012, Vienna, 22.-27. April 2012] , Geophysical Research Abstracts, 14, 7879-7879

    4) Gerda Holzapfel, Philipp Weihs, Hans Peter Rauch, Florin Florineth (2012): The shading potential of salix purpurea TO Quantify specific ecologic engineering effects. Soil Bio- and Eco-Engineering The Use of Vegetation to Improve Slope Stability, Jul 23-27, 2012, Vancouver, Kanada

    5) Holzapfel, G; Weihs, P; Florineth, F (2012): Influences of Riparian Vegetation on the Ecology of River Systems - Shading Effects of Riparian Vegetation. [9th international Symposium on Ecohydraulics 2012, Vienna, Austria, Sept 17-21, 2012] In: Institute of Water Management, Hydrology and Hydraulic Engineering - University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna, ISE 2012 Proceedings

    6) Trimmel, H; Weihs, P; Formayer, H; Holzapfel, G; Rauch, HP; Dossi, F; Graf, W; Leitner, P; Melcher, A; (2013): Methods of modeling the energy fluxes of low land rivers including the shading effect of river geometry and riparian vegetation. [Poster]
    [14.Österreichischer Klimatag, Vienna, Austria, APR 4-5, 2013] In: Climate Change Center Austria CCCA, Klima- und Energiefond gemeinsam mit Universität für Bodenkultur Wien, 14.Klimatag, http://bioclic.boku.ac.at/index.php, http://ccca.boku.ac.at/veranstaltungen/klimatag2013

    7) Regina Matzi, 1994: Auswirkungen von Straßenbauten in schutzwürdigen Gebieten Kärntens:der Klimafaktor Naturwissenschaftlicher Verein für Kärnten, Austria, download unter www.biologiezentrum.at Carinthia II 184./104. Jahrgang S.143-156 Klagenfurt 1994 http://www.landesmuseum.at/pdf_frei_remote/CAR_184_104_0143-0156.pdf


    Projekt Bio_clic: Das Potential der Ufervegetation zur Minderung von Effekten des Klimawandels auf biologische Lebensgemeinschaften kleiner bis mittelgroßer Fließgewässer http://bioclic.boku.ac.at/index.php


    Funded by
    Funded by the Austrian Federal Ministry of Science and Research within the framework of the call "Projekt MINT-Massenfächer" (2011/12)

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    Philipp Weihs


    Philipp Weihs
    This teaching resource is allocated to following University:
    BOKU - University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna
    Institute of Meteorology (BOKU Vienna)


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