Variance methods to estimate regional heat fluxes with aircraft measurements in the convective boundary layer Variance methods to estimate regional heat fluxes with airacraft measurements in the convective boundary layer

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Turbulence data obtained by aircraft observations in the convective boundary layer (CBL) were analyzed to estimate the regional surface heat fluxes through application of the variance methods. Several heights within and above the CBL were flown repeatedly above the flux observation site in a homogeneous steppe region in Mongolia. The vertical profiles of the second moment about the mean, i.e., the variance, of temperature were found to follow in general the functional forms proposed in previous studies. These variance statistics were applied to the variance formulations to estimate surface sensible heat fluxes. First, the flux estimation was made with these equations and the constant parameters as proposed in previous studies. Then, the constants were re-calibrated with the current data set and used for flux estimation. In addition, a new simpler formulation was proposed and also calibrated with the current data set. Finally, additional variables, which represent the large scale atmospheric conditions namely baroclinity and advection, were considered for possible improvement of the flux estimation. The resulting rms difference of the estimated sensible heat flux and ground based measurements was reduced from about 40–100 W m−2 for the results obtained with the original constants and formulations, to 30 W m−2 or less for those obtained with locally calibrated constants and introduction of four additional variables. All formulations including the new simple equation performed equally well.


  • Journal of Hydrology

    Journal of Hydrology 333(1), 68-85, 2007-01

    Elsevier B.V.

Cited by:  1



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