Incorporating the effect of heterogeneous surface heating into a semi-empirical model of the surface energy balance closure

Publikation: Beitrag in FachzeitschriftForschungsartikelBeigetragenBegutachtung



It was discovered several decades ago that eddy covariance measurements systematically underestimate sensible and latent heat fluxes, creating an imbalance in the surface energy budget. Since then, many studies have addressed this problem and proposed a variety of solutions to the problem, including improvements to instruments and correction methods applied during data postprocessing. However, none of these measures have led to the complete closure of the energy balance gap. The leading hypothesis is that not only surface-attached turbulent eddies but also sub-mesoscale atmospheric circulations contribute to the transport of energy in the atmospheric boundary layer, and the contribution from organized motions has been grossly neglected. The problem arises because the transport of energy through these secondary circulations cannot be captured by the standard eddy covariance method given the relatively short averaging periods of time (~30 minutes) used to compute statistics. There are various approaches to adjust the measured heat fluxes by attributing the missing energy to the sensible and latent heat flux in different proportions. However, few correction methods are based on the processes causing the energy balance gap. Several studies have shown that the magnitude of the energy balance gap depends on the atmospheric stability and the heterogeneity scale of the landscape around the measurement site. Based on this, the energy balance gap within the surface layer has already been modelled as a function of a nonlocal atmospheric stability parameter by performing a large-eddy simulation study with idealized homogeneous surfaces. We have further developed this approach by including thermal surface heterogeneity in addition to atmospheric stability in the parameterization. Specifically, we incorporated a thermal heterogeneity parameter that was shown to relate to the magnitude of the energy balance gap. For this purpose, we use a Large-Eddy Simulation dataset of 28 simulations with seven different atmospheric conditions and three heterogeneous surfaces with different heterogeneity scales as well as one homogeneous surface. The newly developed model captures very well the variability in the magnitude of the energy balance gap under different conditions. The model covers a wide range of both atmospheric stabilities and landscape heterogeneity scales and is well suited for application to eddy covariance measurements since all necessary information can be modelled or obtained from a few additional measurements.


FachzeitschriftPloS one
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - 1 Juni 2022

Externe IDs

Scopus 85131223578
PubMed 35648756
WOS 000843619700114
Mendeley 555e4c17-c4e6-3e4d-84eb-758ef02312cc
unpaywall 10.1371/journal.pone.0268097


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DFG-Fachsystematik nach Fachkollegium

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ASJC Scopus Sachgebiete


  • Climate, Energy Metabolism, Heating, Hot Temperature