Estimation of surface turbulent heat fluxes via variational assimilation of sequences of land surface temperatures from geostationary operational environmental satellites
Tongren Xu, S.M. Bateni, S. Liang, D. Entekhabi, and Kebiao Mao
Recently, a number of studies have focused on estimating surface turbulent heat fluxes via assimilation of sequences of land surface temperature (LST) observations into variational data assimilation (VDA) schemes. Using the full heat diffusion equation as a constraint, the surface energy balance equation can be solved via assimilation of sequences of LST within a VDA framework. However, the VDA methods have been tested only in limited field sites that span only a few climate and land use types. Hence, in this study, combined-source (CS) and dual-source (DS) VDA schemes are tested extensively over six FluxNet sites with different vegetation covers (grassland, cropland, and forest) and climate conditions. The CS model groups the soil and canopy together as a single source and does not consider their different contributions to the total turbulent heat fluxes, while the DS model considers them to be different sources. LST data retrieved from the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites are assimilated into these two VDA schemes. Sensible and latent heat flux estimates from the CS and DS models are compared with the corresponding measurements from flux tower stations. The results indicate that the performance of both models at dry, lightly vegetated sites is better than that at wet, densely vegetated sites. Additionally, the DS model outperforms the CS model at all sites, implying that the DS scheme is more reliable and can characterize the underlying physics of the problem better.