Articles | Volume 15, issue 4
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 15, 1291–1306, 2011

Special issue: Observing and modeling the catchment-scale water cycle

Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 15, 1291–1306, 2011

Research article 26 Apr 2011

Research article | 26 Apr 2011

A comparison of eddy-covariance and large aperture scintillometer measurements with respect to the energy balance closure problem

S. M. Liu1, Z. W. Xu1, W. Z. Wang2, Z. Z. Jia1, M. J. Zhu1, J. Bai1, and J. M. Wang2 S. M. Liu et al.
  • 1State key laboratory of Remote Sensing Science, School of Geography, Beijing Normal University, Beijing, 100875, China
  • 2Cold and Arid Regions Environmental and Engineering Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Lanzhou, 730000, China

Abstract. We analyzed the seasonal variations of energy balance components over three different surfaces: irrigated cropland (Yingke, YK), alpine meadow (A'rou, AR), and spruce forest (Guantan, GT). The energy balance components were measured using eddy covariance (EC) systems and a large aperture scintillometer (LAS) in the Heihe River Basin, China, in 2008 and 2009. We also determined the source areas of the EC and LAS measurements with a footprint model for each site and discussed the differences between the sensible heat fluxes measured with EC and LAS at AR. The results show that the main EC source areas were within a radius of 250 m at all of the sites. The main source area for the LAS (with a path length of 2390 m) stretched along a path line approximately 2000 m long and 700 m wide. The surface characteristics in the source areas changed with the season at each site, and there were characteristic seasonal variations in the energy balance components at all of the sites. The sensible heat flux was the main term of the energy budget during the dormant season. During the growing season, however, the latent heat flux dominated the energy budget, and an obvious "oasis effect" was observed at YK. The sensible heat fluxes measured by LAS at AR were larger than those measured by EC at the same site. This difference seems to be caused by the so-called energy imbalance phenomenon, the heterogeneity of the underlying surfaces, and the difference between the source areas of the LAS and EC measurements.