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Hydrology and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2019-354
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2019-354
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 29 Aug 2019

Submitted as: research article | 29 Aug 2019

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This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Hydrology and Earth System Sciences (HESS).

Adapting the thermal-based two-source energy balance model to estimate energy fluxes in a complex tree-grass ecosystem

Vicente Burchard-Levine1, Héctor Nieto2, David Riaño1,3, Mirco Migliavacca4, Tarek S. El-Madany4, Oscar Perez-Priego5, Arnaud Carrara6, and M. Pilar Martín1 Vicente Burchard-Levine et al.
  • 1Environmental Remote Sensing and Spectroscopy Laboratory (SpecLab), Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), Madrid, Spain
  • 2Complutum Tecnologías de la Información Geográfica S.L. (COMPLUTIG), Alcalá de Henares, Spain
  • 3Center for Spatial Technologies and Remote Sensing (CSTARS), University of California, 139 Veihmeyer Hall, One Shields Avenue, Davis, CA 95616, USA
  • 4Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, Department Biogeochemical Integration, Hans-Knöll-Str. 10, 07745 Jena, Germany
  • 5Department of Biological Sciences, Macquarie University, Sydney, NSW, 2109, Australia
  • 6Fundación Centro de Estudios Ambientales del Mediterráneo (CEAM), Valencia 46980, Spain

Abstract. The thermal-based Two-Source Energy Balance (TSEB) model has successfully simulated energy fluxes in a wide range of landscapes. However, tree-grass ecosystems (TGE) have notably complex heterogenous vegetation mixtures and dynamic phenological characteristics presenting clear challenges to earth observation and modeling methods. Therefore, the TSEB model was adapted here to consider these significant seasonal changes. To ensure this and understand model dynamics, sensitivity analyses (SA) were conducted on both inputs (local SA) and parameters (global SA). Furthermore, a more physically based wind attenuation sub-model was applied and compared against the classical exponential wind attenuation law. The model was subsequently modified (TSEB-2S) and evaluated against eddy covariance (EC) flux measurements and lysimeters over a TGE experimental site in central Spain. TSEB-2S vastly improved modeled fluxes decreasing the mean bias and RMSD of LE from 34 and 77 W m-2 to 4 and 56 W m-2, respectively during 2015. TSEB-2S was further validated for two other EC towers and for different years (2015, 2016 and 2017) obtaining similar error statistics. The results presented here demonstrate the important role that vegetation, through its structure and phenology, has in controlling ecosystem level energy fluxes, which become important considerations for the modeling procedure. Additionally, TSEB showed to be more sensitive to correctly partitioning incoming radiation, such as characterizing vegetation clumping, compared to accurately modeling the wind profile through the canopy or the aerodynamic roughness.

Vicente Burchard-Levine et al.
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Short summary
Models are increasingly being used to understand surface water fluxes, which are of high use to manage crop irrigation, and to understand the earth system´s response to environmental change. However, often these models have higher uncertainty in complex ecosystems with multiple layers of vegetation. This manuscript adapts and analyzes a well known model to better simulate water fluxes for a savanna-like ecosystem and to understand the influence that vegetation has on their predictions.
Models are increasingly being used to understand surface water fluxes, which are of high use to...
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