Options to correct local turbulent flux measurements for large-scale fluxes using an approach based on large-eddy simulation

Matthias Mauder*, Andreas Ibrom, Luise Wanner, Frederik De Roo, Peter Brugger, Ralf Kiese, Kim Pilegaard

*Corresponding author for this work

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    The eddy-covariance method provides the most direct estimates for fluxes between ecosystems and the atmosphere. However, dispersive fluxes can occur in the presence of secondary circulations, which can inherently not be captured by such single-tower measurements. In this study, we present options to correct local flux measurements for such large-scale transport based on a non-local parametric model that has been developed from a set of idealized large-eddy simulations. This method is tested for three real-world sites (DK-Sor, DE-Fen, and DE-Gwg), representing typical conditions in the mid-latitudes with different measurement heights, different terrain complexities, and different landscape-scale heterogeneities. Two ways to determine the boundary-layer height, which is a necessary input variable for modelling the dispersive fluxes, are applied, which are either based on operational radio soundings and local in situ measurements for the flat sites or from backscatter-intensity profiles obtained from co-located ceilometers for the two sites in complex terrain. The adjusted total fluxes are evaluated by assessing the improvement in energy balance closure and by comparing the resulting latent heat fluxes with evapotranspiration rates from nearby lysimeters. The results show that not only the accuracy of the flux estimates is improved but also the precision, which is indicated by RMSE values that are reduced by approximately 50 %. Nevertheless, it needs to be clear that this method is intended to correct for a bias in eddy-covariance measurements due to the presence of large-scale dispersive fluxes. Other reasons potentially causing a systematic underestimated or overestimation, such as low-pass filtering effects and missing storage terms, still need to be considered and minimized as much as possible. Moreover, additional transport induced by surface heterogeneities is not considered.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalAtmospheric Measurement Techniques
    Issue number12
    Pages (from-to)7835-7850
    Number of pages16
    Publication statusPublished - 2021


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