Surface skin temperature and the interplay between sensible and ground heat fluxes over arid regions

Xubin Zeng, Zhuo Wang, Aihui Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


Over arid regions, two community landmodels [Noah andCommunityLandModel (CLM)] still have difficulty in realistically simulating the diurnal cycle of surface skin temperature. Based on theoretical arguments and synthesis of previous observational and modeling efforts, three revisions are developed here to address this issue. The revision of the coefficients in computing roughness length for heat significantly reduces the underestimate of daytime skin temperature but has a negligible effect on nighttime skin temperature. The constraints of the minimum friction velocity and soil thermal conductivity help improve nighttime skin temperature under weak wind and dry soil conditions. These results are robust in bothNoah andCLM, aswell as inNoah, with 4 versus 10 soil layers based on in situ data at the Desert Rock site in Nevada with a monthly averaged diurnal amplitude of 31.7 K and the Gaize site over Tibet, China, with an amplitude of 44.6 K. While these revisions can be directly applied to CLM or other land models with subgrid tiles (including bare soil), suggestions are also made on their application to Noah and other land models that treat bare soil and vegetated area together in amodel grid cell. It is suggested that the challenging issue ofmeasuring and simulating surface sensible heat flux under stable conditions should be treated as a land-atmosphere coupled issue, involving the interplay of ground and sensible heat fluxes in balancing the net radiation over arid regions, rather than as an atmospheric turbulence issue alone. The implications of such a coupling perspective are also discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1359-1370
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Hydrometeorology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science


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