Mapping surface-cover parameters using aggregation rules and remotely sensed cover classes

Altaf M. Arain, W. James Shuttleworth, Z. Liang Yang, Jené Michaud, Johannes Dolman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


A coupled model, which combines the Biosphere-Atmosphere Transfer Scheme (BATS) with an advanced atmospheric boundary-layer model, is used to validate hypothetical aggregation rules for BATS-specific surface-cover parameters. The model is initialized and tested with observations from the Anglo-Brazilian Amazonian Climate Observational Study and is used to simulate surface fluxes for rain forest and pasture mixes at a site near Manaus in Brazil. The aggregation rules are shown to estimate parameters which give area-average surface fluxes similar to those calculated, with explicit representation of forest and pasture patches for a range of meteorological and surface conditions relevant to this site, but the agreement deteriorates somewhat when there are large patch-to-patch differences in soil moisture. The aggregation rules, validated as above, are then applied to a remotely sensed 1 km land-cover data set to obtain grid-average values of BATS vegetation parameters for 2.8° x 2.8° and 1° x 1° grids within the conterminous United States. There are significant differences in key vegetation parameters (aerodynamic roughness length, albedo, leaf-area index, and stomatal resistance) when aggregate parameters are compared with parameters for the single, dominant cover within the grid. However, the surface energy fluxes calculated by stand-alone BATS with the 2-year forcing data from the International Satellite Land Surface Climatology Programme CD-ROM are reasonably similar using aggregate-vegetation parameters and dominant-cover parameters, but there are some significant differences, particularly in the western USA.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2325-2348
Number of pages24
JournalQuarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society
Issue number544
StatePublished - Oct 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • Aggregation rules
  • Boundary-layer model
  • Mixed vegetation
  • Surface fluxes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science


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