Utility of remote-sensing-based two-source energy balance model under low- and high-vegetation cover conditions

Fuqin Li, William P. Kustas, John H. Prueger, Christopher M.U. Neale, Thomas J. Jackson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

190 Scopus citations


Two resistance network formulations that are used in a two-source model for parameterizing soil and canopy energy exchanges are evaluated for a wide range of soybean and corn crop cover and soil moisture conditions during the Soil Moisture-Atmosphere Coupling Experiment (SMACEX). The parallel resistance formulation does not consider interaction between the soil and canopy fluxes, whereas the series resistance algorithms provide interaction via the computation of a within-air canopy temperature. Land surface temperatures were derived from high-resolution Landsat Thematic Mapper (TM)/Enhanced Thematic Mapper (ETM) scenes and aircraft imagery. These data, along with tower-based meteorological data, provided inputs for the two-source energy balance model. Comparison of the local model output with tower-based flux observations indicated that both the parallel and series resistance formulations produced basically similar estimates with root-mean-square difference (RMSD) values ranging from approximately 20 to 50 W m-2 for net radiation and latent heat fluxes, respectively. The largest relative difference in percentage [mean absolute percent difference (MAPD)] was for sensible heat flux, which was ≈35%, followed by a MAPD ≈ 25% for soil heat flux, ≈10% for latent heat flux, and a MAPD < 5% for net radiation. Although both series and parallel versions gave similar results, the parallel resistance formulation was found to be more sensitive to model parameter specification, particularly in accounting for the effects of vegetation clumping resulting from row crop planting on flux partitioning. A sensitivity and model stability analysis for a key model input variable, that is, fractional vegetation cover, also show that the parallel resistance network is more sensitive to the errors vegetation cover estimates. Furthermore, it is shown that for a much narrower range in vegetation cover fraction, compared to the series resistance network, the parallel resistance scheme is able to achieve a balance in both the radiative temperature and convective heat fluxes between the soil and canopy components. This result appears to be related to the moderating effects of the air temperature in the canopy air space computed in the series resistance scheme, which represents the effective source height for turbulent energy exchange across the soil-canopy-atmosphere system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)878-891
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Hydrometeorology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2005
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science


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