Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2023-296
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2023-296
18 Dec 2023
 | 18 Dec 2023
Status: a revised version of this preprint was accepted for the journal HESS.

ET Cool Home: Innovative Educational Activities on Evapotranspiration and Urban Heat

Kyle Blount, Garett Pignotti, and Jordyn Wolfand

Abstract. Teaching evapotranspiration (ET) in university courses often focuses on either oversimplified process descriptions or complex empirical calculations, both of which lack grounding in students’ real-world experiences and prior knowledge. This calls for a more applied approach to teaching about ET that connects concepts to experience for improved educational outcomes. One such opportunity exists at the intersections between ET and heat in cities, where a growing majority of the world’s population lives, including many of our students. In this work we describe an ET educational activity that integrates theory with practical design, taking advantage of the close link between ET processes and urban heat patterns. In a benchtop experiment, students measure ET variations across common land surfaces (e.g., asphalt, grass, and mulch) through water and energy balance approaches. The experiment is paired with an “urban heat tour” in the campus environment, facilitated by portable infrared cameras, offering firsthand observation of urban heat patterns. These two activities, together, provide context in which students can understand the difference in ET across various land covers, describe the relationship between ET and land surface temperatures, and explain the impacts of urban design on heat dynamics. The activities are adaptable to serve a diversity of student backgrounds and to different educational contexts, including public demonstrations and K-12 classrooms.

Kyle Blount, Garett Pignotti, and Jordyn Wolfand

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on hess-2023-296', Dan Li, 16 Jan 2024
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Kyle Blount, 31 Jan 2024
  • RC2: 'Comment on hess-2023-296', Anonymous Referee #2, 17 Jan 2024
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC2', Kyle Blount, 31 Jan 2024
      • RC4: 'Reply on AC2', Anonymous Referee #2, 07 Feb 2024
        • AC4: 'Reply on RC4', Kyle Blount, 13 Feb 2024
      • RC5: 'Reply on AC2', Anonymous Referee #2, 07 Feb 2024
        • AC5: 'Reply on RC5', Kyle Blount, 13 Feb 2024
  • RC3: 'Comment on hess-2023-296', Sarah Ledford, 17 Jan 2024
    • AC3: 'Reply on RC3', Kyle Blount, 31 Jan 2024
Kyle Blount, Garett Pignotti, and Jordyn Wolfand
Kyle Blount, Garett Pignotti, and Jordyn Wolfand

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Short summary
We introduce an applied approach to evapotranspiration (ET) instruction. In a laboratory experiment, students calculate ET using both water balance and energy balance approaches for five representative urban land surface covers (gravel, soil, grass, asphalt, and mulch). The experiment is paired with an urban heat tour facilitated by thermal infrared cameras. The activities are adaptable for various contexts, ranging from undergraduate lab classes to K-12 demonstrations.