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Lidar Measurement of Boundary Layer Evolution to Determine Sensible Heat Fluxes

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  • 1 Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa
  • | 2 Experimental Atmospheric/Climate Physics, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, New Mexico
  • | 3 Department of Plants, Soils and Biometeorology, Utah State University, Logan, Utah
  • | 4 Department of Agriculture, Hydrology and Remote Sensing Laboratory, Beltsville, Maryland
  • | 5 Department of Agriculture, National Soil Tilth Laboratory, Ames, Iowa
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Abstract

The Soil Moisture–Atmosphere Coupling Experiment (SMACEX) was conducted in the Walnut Creek watershed near Ames, Iowa, over the period from 15 June to 11 July 2002. A main focus of SMACEX is the investigation of the interactions between the atmospheric boundary layer, surface moisture, and canopy. A vertically staring elastic lidar was used to provide a high-time-resolution continuous record of the boundary layer height at the edge between a soybean and cornfield. The height and thickness of the entrainment zone are used to estimate the surface sensible heat flux using the Batchvarova–Gryning boundary layer model. Flux estimates made over 6 days are compared to conventional eddy correlation measurements. The calculated values of the sensible heat flux were found to be well correlated (R2 = 0.79, with a slope of 0.95) when compared to eddy correlation measurements in the area. The standard error of the flux estimates was 21.4 W m−2 (31% rms difference between this method and surface measurements), which is somewhat higher than a predicted uncertainty of 16%. The major sources of error were from the estimates of the vertical potential temperature gradient and an assumption that the entrainment parameter A was equal to the ratio of the entrainment flux and the surface heat flux.

Corresponding author address: William Eichinger, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA 52242. Email: william-eichinger@uiowa.edu

Abstract

The Soil Moisture–Atmosphere Coupling Experiment (SMACEX) was conducted in the Walnut Creek watershed near Ames, Iowa, over the period from 15 June to 11 July 2002. A main focus of SMACEX is the investigation of the interactions between the atmospheric boundary layer, surface moisture, and canopy. A vertically staring elastic lidar was used to provide a high-time-resolution continuous record of the boundary layer height at the edge between a soybean and cornfield. The height and thickness of the entrainment zone are used to estimate the surface sensible heat flux using the Batchvarova–Gryning boundary layer model. Flux estimates made over 6 days are compared to conventional eddy correlation measurements. The calculated values of the sensible heat flux were found to be well correlated (R2 = 0.79, with a slope of 0.95) when compared to eddy correlation measurements in the area. The standard error of the flux estimates was 21.4 W m−2 (31% rms difference between this method and surface measurements), which is somewhat higher than a predicted uncertainty of 16%. The major sources of error were from the estimates of the vertical potential temperature gradient and an assumption that the entrainment parameter A was equal to the ratio of the entrainment flux and the surface heat flux.

Corresponding author address: William Eichinger, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA 52242. Email: william-eichinger@uiowa.edu

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