Articles | Volume 3, issue 2
30 Jun 1999
30 Jun 1999

Examination of evaporative fraction diurnal behaviour using a soil-vegetation model coupled with a mixed-layer model

J.-P. Lhomme and E. Elguero

Abstract. In many experimental conditions, the evaporative fraction, defined as the ratio between evaporation and available energy, has been found stable during daylight hours. This constancy is investigated over fully covering vegetation by means of a land surface scheme coupled with a mixed-layer model, which accounts for entrainment of overlying air. The evaporation rate follows the Penman-Monteith equation and the surface resistance is given by a Jarvis type parameterization involving solar radiation, saturation deficit and leaf water potential. The diurnal course of the evaporative fraction is examined, together with the influence of environmental factors (soil water availability, solar radiation input, wind velocity, saturation deficit above the well-mixed layer). In conditions of fair weather, the curves representing the diurnal course of the evaporative fraction have a typical concave-up shape. Around midday (solar time) these curves appear as relatively constant, but always lower that the daytime mean value. Evaporative fraction decreases when soil water decreases or when solar energy increases. An increment of saturation deficit above the mixed-layer provokes only a slight increase of evaporative fraction, and wind velocity has almost no effect. The possibility of estimation daytime evaporation from daytime available energy multiplied by the evaporative fraction at a single time of the day is also investigated. It appears that it is possible to obtain fairly good estimates of daytime evaporation by choosing adequately the time of the measurement of the evaporative fraction. The central hours of the day, and preferably about 3 hr before or after noon, are the most appropriate to provide good estimates. The estimation appears also to be much better when soil water availability (or evaporation) is high than when it is low.