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  • Author or Editor: John M. Norman x
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Martha C. Anderson
,
J. M. Norman
,
William P. Kustas
,
Fuqin Li
,
John H. Prueger
, and
John R. Mecikalski

Abstract

The effects of nonrandom leaf area distributions on surface flux predictions from a two-source thermal remote sensing model are investigated. The modeling framework is applied at local and regional scales over the Soil Moisture–Atmosphere Coupling Experiment (SMACEX) study area in central Iowa, an agricultural landscape that exhibits foliage organization at a variety of levels. Row-scale clumping in area corn- and soybean fields is quantified as a function of view zenith and azimuth angles using ground-based measurements of canopy architecture. The derived clumping indices are used to represent subpixel clumping in Landsat cover estimates at 30-m resolution, which are then aggregated to the 5-km scale of the regional model, reflecting field-to-field variations in vegetation amount. Consideration of vegetation clumping within the thermal model, which affects the relationship between surface temperature and leaf area inputs, significantly improves model estimates of sensible heating at both local and watershed scales in comparison with eddy covariance data collected by aircraft and with a ground-based tower network. These results suggest that this economical approach to representing subpixel leaf area hetereogeneity at multiple scales within the two-source modeling framework works well over the agricultural landscape studied here.

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Cezar Kongoli
,
William P. Kustas
,
Martha C. Anderson
,
John M. Norman
,
Joseph G. Alfieri
,
Gerald N. Flerchinger
, and
Danny Marks

Abstract

The utility of a snow–vegetation energy balance model for estimating surface energy fluxes is evaluated with field measurements at two sites in a rangeland ecosystem in southwestern Idaho during the winter of 2007: one site dominated by aspen vegetation and the other by sagebrush. Model parameterizations are adopted from the two-source energy balance (TSEB) modeling scheme, which estimates fluxes from the vegetation and surface substrate separately using remotely sensed measurements of land surface temperature. Modifications include development of routines to account for surface snowmelt energy flux and snow masking of vegetation. Comparisons between modeled and measured surface energy fluxes of net radiation and turbulent heat showed reasonable agreement when considering measurement uncertainties in snow environments and the simplified algorithm used for the snow surface heat flux, particularly on a daily basis. There was generally better performance over the aspen field site, likely due to more reliable input data of snow depth/snow cover. The model was robust in capturing the evolution of surface energy fluxes during melt periods. The model behavior was also consistent with previous studies that indicate the occurrence of upward sensible heat fluxes during daytime owing to solar heating of vegetation limbs and branches, which often exceeds the downward sensible heat flux driving the snowmelt. However, model simulations over aspen trees showed that the upward sensible heat flux could be reversed for a lower canopy fraction owing to the dominance of downward sensible heat flux over snow. This indicates that reliable vegetation or snow cover fraction inputs to the model are needed for estimating fluxes over snow-covered landscapes.

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Martha C. Anderson
,
J. M. Norman
,
John R. Mecikalski
,
Ryan D. Torn
,
William P. Kustas
, and
Jeffrey B. Basara

Abstract

Disaggregation of regional-scale (103 m) flux estimates to micrometeorological scales (101–102 m) facilitates direct comparison between land surface models and ground-based observations. Inversely, it also provides a means for upscaling flux-tower information into a regional context. The utility of the Atmosphere–Land Exchange Inverse (ALEXI) model and associated disaggregation technique (DisALEXI) in effecting regional to local downscaling is demonstrated in an application to thermal imagery collected with the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) (5-km resolution) and Landsat (60-m resolution) over the state of Oklahoma on 4 days during 2000–01. A related algorithm (DisTrad) sharpens thermal imagery to resolutions associated with visible–near-infrared bands (30 m on Landsat), extending the range in scales achievable through disaggregation. The accuracy and utility of this combined multiscale modeling system is evaluated quantitatively in comparison with measurements made with flux towers in the Oklahoma Mesonet and qualitatively in terms of enhanced information content that emerges at high resolution where flux patterns can be identified with recognizable surface phenomena.

Disaggregated flux fields at 30-m resolution were reaggregated over an area approximating the tower flux footprint and agreed with observed fluxes to within 10%. In contrast, 5-km flux predictions from ALEXI showed a higher relative error of 17% because of the gross mismatch in scale between model and measurement, highlighting the efficacy of disaggregation as a means for validating regional-scale flux predictions over heterogeneous landscapes. Sharpening the thermal inputs to DisALEXI with DisTrad did not improve agreement with observations in comparison with a simple bilinear interpolation technique because the sharpening interval associated with Landsat (60–30 m) was much smaller than the dominant scale of heterogeneity (200–500 m) in the scenes studied. Greater benefit is expected in application to Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) data, where the potential sharpening interval (1 km to 250 m) brackets the typical agricultural field scale. Thermal sharpening did, however, significantly improve output in terms of visual information content and model convergence rate.

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Nurit Agam
,
William P. Kustas
,
Martha C. Anderson
,
John M. Norman
,
Paul D. Colaizzi
,
Terry A. Howell
,
John H. Prueger
,
Tilden P. Meyers
, and
Tim B. Wilson

Abstract

The Priestley–Taylor (PT) approximation for computing evapotranspiration was initially developed for conditions of a horizontally uniform saturated surface sufficiently extended to obviate any significant advection of energy. Nevertheless, the PT approach has been effectively implemented within the framework of a thermal-based two-source model (TSM) of the surface energy balance, yielding reasonable latent heat flux estimates over a range in vegetative cover and climate conditions. In the TSM, however, the PT approach is applied only to the canopy component of the latent heat flux, which may behave more conservatively than the bulk (soil + canopy) system. The objective of this research is to investigate the response of the canopy and bulk PT parameters to varying leaf area index (LAI) and vapor pressure deficit (VPD) in both natural and agricultural vegetated systems, to better understand the utility and limitations of this approximation within the context of the TSM. Micrometeorological flux measurements collected at multiple sites under a wide range of atmospheric conditions were used to implement an optimization scheme, assessing the value of the PT parameter for best performance of the TSM. Overall, the findings suggest that within the context of the TSM, the optimal canopy PT coefficient for agricultural crops appears to have a fairly conservative value of ∼1.2 except when under very high vapor pressure deficit (VPD) conditions, when its value increases. For natural vegetation (primarily grasslands), the optimal canopy PT coefficient assumed lower values on average (∼0.9) and dropped even further at high values of VPD. This analysis provides some insight as to why the PT approach, initially developed for regional estimates of potential evapotranspiration, can be used successfully in the TSM scheme to yield reliable heat flux estimates over a variety of land cover types.

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