The Elephant in the Room: Spatial Heterogeneity and the Uncertainty of Measurements and Models Academic Article uri icon


  • Variations in surface conditions can significantly influence the exchange of heat and moisture between the land and atmosphere. As a result, measurements of surface fluxes using disparate methods not only may differ, they may fail to represent the surrounding landscape due to localized differences in surface conditions. To illustrate this, data collected over adjacent cotton fields during the Bushland Evapotranspiration and Agricultural Remote Sensing Experiment (BEAREX08) will be used. The evapotranspiration (ET) within each field was determined via lysimetry (LY), mass balance using neutron probe (NP) data, and a pair of eddy covariance (EC) systems. A comparison of the cumulative ET from each field showed that ET from LY was 20% to 25% greater than that derived from NP and 10% to 15% greater than those from EC. Additionally, the cumulative flux for the two fields collected …

publication date

  • December 1, 2014