Relative efficiency of land surface energy balance components



[1] The partitioning of available energy into dissipative fluxes over land surfaces is dependent on the state variable of the surface energy balance (land surface temperature) and the state variable of the surface water balance (soil moisture). The direct measurement of the turbulent fluxes is achieved with in situ instruments at tower sites. These point-scale measurements are sparsely distributed. Broader scale mapping of the turbulent fluxes is mostly dependent on land surface temperature (LST) and optical/infrared vegetation that can be sensed remotely. There are several data assimilation approaches currently in use that intake sequences of daytime LST that attain different diurnal amplitudes depending on available energy and the relative efficiency of surface energy balance to infer the magnitude of surface flux components such as latent and sensible heat flux. In this study we perform stability analysis on the evolution of LST in order to provide insights into the physical bases for why LST variations can be used to diagnose surface energy balance (SEB) components. The derived relative efficiencies of SEB components in dissipating available energy at the land surface are tested using two field experiment measurements. The results show that the theoretically derived relative efficiencies of SEB components agree well with field observations. The study provides insight into how LST sequences implicitly contain the signature of partitioning of available energy among SEB components and can be used to infer their magnitudes.