19 Apr 2022
19 Apr 2022
Status: a revised version of this preprint is currently under review for the journal HESS.

Accuracy of ground heat flux simulation methods in the surface energy balance-based remote sensing evapotranspiration models

Zhaofei Liu1,2 Zhaofei Liu
  • 1Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 100101, Beijing, China
  • 2University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, 100049, Beijing, China

Abstract. According to 230 flux site observations, intra-day and diurnal ground heat flux (G) accounted for 19.2 % and 28.8 % of the corresponding net radiation, respectively. This indicates that G plays an important role in remote sensing (RS) evapotranspiration (ET) models. The accuracy of the five G simulation methods in the surface energy balance-based RS ET models was evaluated using half-hourly observations. The linear coefficient (LC) method and the methods embedded with the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) were able to accurately simulate a half-hourly G series at most sites. The mean and median Nash-Sutcliffe efficiency (NSE) values of all sites were generally higher than 0.50 in each half-hour period. However, the two methods embedded by fractional vegetation coverage showed poor performance in most half-hour periods, except the sunrise and sunset periods, with the mean and median NSE values of all sites below 0.20. The accuracy of each method varied significantly at different sites and at half-hour intervals. The highest accuracy was exhibited during sunrise periods (6:00–7:00), followed by sunset periods (17:00–18:00). There were 92 % (211/230) sites with an NSE of the LC method greater than 0.50 at 6:30. It showed a slightly higher accuracy during night periods than during daytime periods. The lowest accuracy was observed at noon periods (10:00–15:30). The sites with an NSE exceeding 0.50 only accounted for 51 % (118/230) and 43 % (100/230) at 10:30 and 13:30, respectively. The accuracy of Northern Hemisphere sites was generally higher than that of Southern Hemisphere sites. In general, the highest and lowest accuracies were observed at the high- and low-latitude sites, respectively. The performance of the LC method and the methods embedded with NDVI were generally satisfactory at the Eurasian and North American sites, with the NSE values of most sites exceeding 0.70. Conversely, it exhibited relatively poor performance at the African, South American, and Oceanian sites, especially the African sites. Both the temporal and spatial distributions of the accuracy of the G simulation were positively correlated with the correlation between G and the net radiation. Although the G simulation methods accurately simulated the G series at most sites and time periods, their performance was poor at some sites and time periods. The application of RS ET datasets covering these sites requires caution. The optimal parameter value for each method varied greatly at different sites. This indicates that the fixed parameter values in the G simulation methods are not appropriate. Further improvement of G simulations at these sites and time periods is recommended for the RS ET modelers.

Zhaofei Liu

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on hess-2022-125', Anonymous Referee #1, 23 May 2022
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Zhaofei Liu, 28 Jun 2022
  • RC2: 'Comment on hess-2022-125', Anonymous Referee #2, 17 Jun 2022
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC2', Zhaofei Liu, 28 Jun 2022
  • RC3: 'Comment on hess-2022-125', Anonymous Referee #3, 20 Jun 2022
    • AC3: 'Reply on RC3', Zhaofei Liu, 28 Jun 2022

Zhaofei Liu


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Short summary
Ground heat flux (G) accounts for a significant fraction of the surface energy balance (SEB), but there is insufficient research on these models compared with other flux. Accuracy of G simulation methods in the SEB-based remote sensing evapotranspiration models is evaluated. Results show that the accuracy of each method varied significantly at different sites and at half-hour intervals. Further improvement of G simulations is recommended for the remote sensing evapotranspiration modelers.