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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: A Spatially Distributed Energy Balance Model: Development, Validation and Application

Authors
item Neale, Christopher - UTAH STATE UNIVERSITY
item Guleid, Artan - UTAH STATE UNIVERSITY
item Hanson, Clayton
item Tarboton, David - UTAH STATE UNIVERSITY

Submitted to: American Meteorological Society
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: January 15, 1997
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Estimating the distribution of the energy balance components under different surface conditions is important to better understand the contribution of these fluxes in the hydrologic cycle. The latent heat flux, or evapotranspiration, is the largest component of the hydrologic fluxes after precipitation. However its estimation in partially vegetated, semi-arid ecosystems is still the subject of much study due to the complex nature of the problem. Existing evapotranspiration models are hindered in representing vegetation parameters that influence transpiration in highly heterogeneous ecosystems. A distributed energy balance model was developed for semi-arid, complex terrain with sparsely vegetated ecosystems. The development objective was to model the energy balance process in a distributed manner in order to better understand the mechanisms that control the partitioning of energy in environments with sparse vegetation and limited water availability. The model was applied to a semi-arid mountainous sub-basin of the USDA-ARS Reynolds Creek Experimental Watershed, near Boise, Idaho. Daily modeled average sensible and latent heat flux totals compared well with the observed values; however a lag was evident between the latent heat fluxes.

Technical Abstract: Estimating the distribution of the energy balance components under different surface conditions is important to better understand the contribution of these fluxes in the hydrologic cycle. The latent heat flux, or evapotranspiration, is the largest component of the hydrologic fluxes after precipitation. However its estimation in partially vegetated, semi-arid ecosystems is still the subject of much study due to the complex nature of the problem. Existing evapotranspiration models are hindered in representing vegetation parameters that influence transpiration in highly heterogeneous ecosystems. This paper briefly describes a distributed energy balance model developed for semi-arid, complex terrain with sparsely vegetated ecosystems. The development objective was to model the energy balance process in a distributed manner in order to better understand the mechanisms that control the partitioning of energy in environments with sparse vegetation and limited water availability. The model was applied to a semi-arid mountainous sub-basin of the USDA-ARS Reynolds Creek Experimental Watershed, near Boise, Idaho.

Last Modified: 12/21/2014
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