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Influence of Land Cover and Soil Moisture on the Horizontal Distribution of Sensible and Latent Heat Fluxes in Southeast Kansas during IHOP_2002 and CASES-97

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  • 1 National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado
  • | 2 Department of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Wyoming, Laramie, Wyoming
  • | 3 Colorado Research Associates, Boulder, Colorado
  • | 4 Argonne National Laboratory, Chicago, Illinois
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Abstract

Analyses of daytime fair-weather aircraft and surface-flux tower data from the May–June 2002 International H2O Project (IHOP_2002) and the April–May 1997 Cooperative Atmosphere Surface Exchange Study (CASES-97) are used to document the role of vegetation, soil moisture, and terrain in determining the horizontal variability of latent heat LE and sensible heat H along a 46-km flight track in southeast Kansas. Combining the two field experiments clearly reveals the strong influence of vegetation cover, with H maxima over sparse/dormant vegetation, and H minima over green vegetation; and, to a lesser extent, LE maxima over green vegetation, and LE minima over sparse/dormant vegetation. If the small number of cases is producing the correct trend, other effects of vegetation and the impact of soil moisture emerge through examining the slope ΔxyLE/ΔxyH for the best-fit straight line for plots of time-averaged LE as a function of time-averaged H over the area. Based on the surface energy balance, H + LE = RnetGsfc, where Rnet is the net radiation and Gsfc is the flux into the soil; RnetGsfc ∼ constant over the area implies an approximately −1 slope. Right after rainfall, H and LE vary too little horizontally to define a slope. After sufficient drying to produce enough horizontal variation to define a slope, a steep (∼−2) slope emerges. The slope becomes shallower and better defined with time as H and LE horizontal variability increases. Similarly, the slope becomes more negative with moister soils. In addition, the slope can change with time of day due to phase differences in H and LE. These trends are based on land surface model (LSM) runs and observations collected under nearly clear skies; the vegetation is unstressed for the days examined. LSM runs suggest terrain may also play a role, but observational support is weak.

* Current affiliation: Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana

+ The National Center for Atmospheric Research is sponsored by the National Science Foundation

Corresponding author address: Margaret A. LeMone, NCAR Foothills Laboratory, 3450 Mitchell Lane, Boulder, CO 80301. Email: lemone@ucar.edu

Abstract

Analyses of daytime fair-weather aircraft and surface-flux tower data from the May–June 2002 International H2O Project (IHOP_2002) and the April–May 1997 Cooperative Atmosphere Surface Exchange Study (CASES-97) are used to document the role of vegetation, soil moisture, and terrain in determining the horizontal variability of latent heat LE and sensible heat H along a 46-km flight track in southeast Kansas. Combining the two field experiments clearly reveals the strong influence of vegetation cover, with H maxima over sparse/dormant vegetation, and H minima over green vegetation; and, to a lesser extent, LE maxima over green vegetation, and LE minima over sparse/dormant vegetation. If the small number of cases is producing the correct trend, other effects of vegetation and the impact of soil moisture emerge through examining the slope ΔxyLE/ΔxyH for the best-fit straight line for plots of time-averaged LE as a function of time-averaged H over the area. Based on the surface energy balance, H + LE = RnetGsfc, where Rnet is the net radiation and Gsfc is the flux into the soil; RnetGsfc ∼ constant over the area implies an approximately −1 slope. Right after rainfall, H and LE vary too little horizontally to define a slope. After sufficient drying to produce enough horizontal variation to define a slope, a steep (∼−2) slope emerges. The slope becomes shallower and better defined with time as H and LE horizontal variability increases. Similarly, the slope becomes more negative with moister soils. In addition, the slope can change with time of day due to phase differences in H and LE. These trends are based on land surface model (LSM) runs and observations collected under nearly clear skies; the vegetation is unstressed for the days examined. LSM runs suggest terrain may also play a role, but observational support is weak.

* Current affiliation: Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana

+ The National Center for Atmospheric Research is sponsored by the National Science Foundation

Corresponding author address: Margaret A. LeMone, NCAR Foothills Laboratory, 3450 Mitchell Lane, Boulder, CO 80301. Email: lemone@ucar.edu

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