Comparison of in-situ measured ground heat fluxes within a heteorogeneous urban ballast layer
This study concentrates on measurements of ground heat fluxes within a porous urban ballast layer that were conducted from June to September 2002 at the goods station in Osnabr€uck, Germany. To account for the limitation of accurately installing sensors within the heterogeneous and porous ballast bulk, the heat fluxes were calculated from four different methods to compare their variability, dynamics and shortcomings. Ground heat fluxes were gathered from 1) a heat flux plate with the inclusion of heat storage between the soil surface and the heat flux plate, 2) temperature gradient measurements with correction for heat storage, 3) temperature gradient measurements with a modelled surface temperature and a laboratory derived thermal conductivity, 4) as residual from the surface energy balance equation. The results show a distinct deviation of the four methods for absolute values of the ground heat flux as well as for temporal dynamics on the diurnal cycle. As indicated by the temporal dynamics of the ground heat flux times series and a simple error analysis of the four methods, the most plausible estimates for an urban application in a heterogeneous ballast layer were obtained by temperature gradient measurements between the surface and -0.05 m. Overall, the results indicate that accurate ground heat flux measurements in urban applications still prove difficult to acquire.