Estimation of latent heat flux using satellite land surface temperature and a variational data assimilation scheme over a eucalypt forest savanna in Northern Australia

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Citation:
Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, 2019, 268 pp. 341 - 353
Issue Date:
2019-04-15
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© 2019 Elsevier B.V. In this study, the performance of the combined-source variational data assimilation scheme (CS-VDA) is assessed in detail using in situ heat fluxes (i.e. sensible heat (H) and latent heat (LE)) collected at a Eucalypt forest savanna of Northern Australia (Howard Springs). The CS VDA scheme estimates surface turbulent heat fluxes via assimilation of sequences of land surface temperature (LST) and meteorological data into a surface energy balance model and a dynamic model. The main objectives of this paper were to extend previous studies to a semi-arid ecosystem and to evaluate the potential of using global meteorological forcing data (GMD) to drive the CS VDA model (rather than in-situ meteorological observations). In order to study the new errors associated with the use of GMD, the effects on LE of the uncertainty in air temperature and wind speed (the two key meteorological factors that controls the total estimation error) was quantitatively characterized. Using hourly in-situ measurements as inputs, the daily-averaged LE RMSE daily was 54 W/m 2 , which agrees with the errors previously reported in the literature. As expected, replacing local meteorological data with GMD reduces the performance of the LE estimation (GMA: RMSE daily = 82 W/m 2 , GLDAS: RMSE daily = 151 W/m 2 ). However, LE RMSE values at 8-day temporal scale for GMA are RMSE 8-days = 32 W/m 2 , similar to those reported in this area for other models (MODIS (MOD16A2) and Breathing Earth System Simulator (BESS)). The error propagation analysis indicate that the CS VDA model is very sensitive to uncertainties in wind speed measurements. Moreover, there are large discrepancies between in situ and GMD wind speed. These two factors combined can explain the degradation in LE estimations. In this context, our study is a first step towards the characterization of an operational daily LE estimation scheme using hourly LST observations.
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