Abstract

The authors reconsider the problem of estimating the sensible heat transfer at the earth's surface from direct measurements of turbulent fluxes in the atmospheric boundary layer. For simplicity, only horizontally homogeneous conditions are considered for a thin atmospheric layer containing no liquid water, adjacent to the earth's ground surface. Applying the first law of thermodynamics to the thin interfacial layer, an expression is obtained for thermal conduction at the surface in terms of the traditionally defined sensible heat flux by turbulence and a set of correction terms including the so-called moisture correction term. A scale analysis is presented to suggest that the magnitudes of the miscellaneous correction terms are usually negligible. Previous literature on estimation of the sensible heat flux is critically reviewed in light of the new result.

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