Journal cover Journal topic
Hydrology and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
doi:10.5194/hess-2016-76
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed
under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
01 Mar 2016
Review status
This discussion paper has been under review for the journal Hydrology and Earth System Sciences (HESS). The manuscript was not accepted for further review after discussion.
Analysing surface energy balance closure and partitioning over a semi-arid savanna FLUXNET site in Skukuza, Kruger National Park, South Africa
Nobuhle P. Majozi1,2, Chris M. Mannaerts2, Abel Ramoelo1, Renaud Mathieu1,3, Alecia Nickless4, and Wouter Verhoef2 1Earth Observation Group, Natural Resources and Environment, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, Pretoria, South Africa , 0001
2Department of Water Resources, Faculty of Geo - Information Science and Earth Observation (ITC) , University of Twente, Enschede, 75AA, the Netherlands
3Department of Geography, Geoinformatics and Meteorology, University of Pretoria, South Africa
4Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, University of Oxford, Oxford, OX2 6GG, United Kingdom
Abstract. Flux tower sites and data are in great demand to provide essential terrestrial climate, water and radiation budget information needed for environmental monitoring and evaluation of climate change impacts on ecosystems and society in general. They are also intended for calibration and validation of satellite-based earth observation and monitoring efforts, such as for example assessment of evapotranspiration from land and vegetation surfaces using surface energy balance approaches. Surface energy budget methods for ET estimation rely to a large extend on the basic assumption of a surface energy balance closure, assuming the full conversion of net solar radiation reaching the land surface into soil heat conduction and turbulent fluxes, i.e. the sensible (or convection) and latent heat components of the energy balance. Evapotranspiration is the conversion of the latent heat exchange fraction of the balance. In this paper, the Skukuza flux tower data were analysed in order to verify their use for validation of satellite–based evapotranspiration methods, under development in South Africa.Data series from 2000 until 2014 were used in the analysis. The energy balance ratio (EBR) concept, defined as the ratio between the sum of the turbulent convective and latent heat fluxes and radiation minus soil heat was used. At first typical diurnal patterns of EB partitioning were derived for four different seasons, well illustrating how this savannah-type biome responses to the weather conditions. Also the particular behaviour of the EB components during sunrise and sunset conditions, being important but usually neglected periods of energy transitions and inversions were noted and analysed. Annual estimates of the surface energy balance and its components were generated, including an evaluation of the balance closure. The seasonal variations were also investigated as well as the impact of nocturnal observations on the overall EB behaviour.

Citation: Majozi, N. P., Mannaerts, C. M., Ramoelo, A., Mathieu, R., Nickless, A., and Verhoef, W.: Analysing surface energy balance closure and partitioning over a semi-arid savanna FLUXNET site in Skukuza, Kruger National Park, South Africa, Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci. Discuss., doi:10.5194/hess-2016-76, 2016.
Nobuhle P. Majozi et al.
Nobuhle P. Majozi et al.

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Short summary
This research investigated the quality of the surface energy balance components as they are measured by the eddy covariance system at the Skukuza FLUXNET station. It also looked at how net solar radiation in a semi-arid ecosystem is partitioned into soil heat conduction and turbulent fluxes, i.e. the sensible (or convection) and latent heat components of the energy balance. Results show that sensible heat flux is the dominant portion of the net solar radiation.
This research investigated the quality of the surface energy balance components as they are...
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