Articles | Volume 8, issue 3
Atmos. Meas. Tech., 8, 1407–1424, 2015
Atmos. Meas. Tech., 8, 1407–1424, 2015

Research article 20 Mar 2015

Research article | 20 Mar 2015

Infrared and millimetre-wave scintillometry in the suburban environment – Part 2: Large-area sensible and latent heat fluxes

H. C. Ward1,2,3, J. G. Evans1, and C. S. B. Grimmond2,3 H. C. Ward et al.
  • 1Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Wallingford, Oxfordshire, OX10 8BB, UK
  • 2Department of Geography, King's College London, London, WC2R 2LS, UK
  • 3Department of Meteorology, University of Reading, Reading, RG6 6BB, UK

Abstract. A millimetre-wave scintillometer was paired with an infrared scintillometer, enabling estimation of large-area evapotranspiration across northern Swindon, a suburban area in the UK. Both sensible and latent heat fluxes can be obtained using this "two-wavelength" technique, as it is able to provide both temperature and humidity structure parameters, offering a major advantage over conventional single-wavelength scintillometry. The first paper of this two-part series presented the measurement theory and structure parameters. In this second paper, heat fluxes are obtained and analysed. These fluxes, estimated using two-wavelength scintillometry over an urban area, are the first of their kind. Source area modelling suggests the scintillometric fluxes are representative of 5–10 km2. For comparison, local-scale (0.05–0.5 km2) fluxes were measured by an eddy covariance station. Similar responses to seasonal changes are evident at the different scales but the energy partitioning varies between source areas. The response to moisture availability is explored using data from 2 consecutive years with contrasting rainfall patterns (2011–2012). This extensive data set offers insight into urban surface-atmosphere interactions and demonstrates the potential for two-wavelength scintillometry to deliver fluxes over mixed land cover, typically representative of an area 1–2 orders of magnitude greater than for eddy covariance measurements. Fluxes at this scale are extremely valuable for hydro-meteorological model evaluation and assessment of satellite data products.

Short summary
Two-wavelength scintillometry, a ground-based remote sensing technique for deriving large-area heat fluxes, has been used over an urban area for the first time. The long data set enables investigation of the performance of the technique and characteristics of turbulent transport processes at sub-daily to inter-annual timescales. In this second paper, sensible and latent heat fluxes representative of an area of 5--10 km2 are presented and analysed.