19 Dec 2022
19 Dec 2022
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal AMT.

Gap-Filling of Turbulent Heat Fluxes over Rice–Wheat-Rotation Croplands Using the Random Forest Model

Jianbin Zhang, Zexia Duan, Shaohui Zhou, Yubin Li, and Zhiqiu Gao Jianbin Zhang et al.
  • School of Atmospheric Physics, Nanjing University of Information Science & Technology, Nanjing, 210044, China

Abstract. This study investigated the accuracy of the Random Forest (RF) model in gap-filling the sensible (H) and latent heat (LE) fluxes, by using the observation data collected at a site over rice–wheat-rotation croplands in Shouxian County of eastern China from 15 July 2015 to 24 April 2019. Firstly, the variable significances of the machine learning (ML) model’s five input variables, including the net radiation (Rn), winds speed (WS), temperature (T), relative humidity (RH), and air pressure (P), were examined, and it was found that Rn accounted for 78 % and 76 % of the total variable significance in H and LE calculating, respectively, showing that it was the most important input variable. Secondly, the RF model's accuracy with the five-variable (Rn, WS, T, RH, P) input combination was evaluated, and the results showed that the RF model could reliably gap-fill the H and LE with mean absolute errors (MAEs) of 5.88 Wm−2 and 20.97 Wm−2, and root mean square errors (RMSEs) of 10.67 Wm−2 and 29.46 Wm−2, respectively. Thirdly, 4-variable input combinations were tested, and it was found that the best input combination was (Rn, WS, T, P) with the MAE of H and LE reduced by 12.65 % and 7.12 %, respectively, after removing RH from the input list. At last, through the Taylor diagram, H and LE gap-filling accuracy of the RF model, the support vector machine (SVM) model, the k-nearest neighbor (KNN) model, and the gradient boosting decision tree (GBDT) model was inter-compared, and the statistical metrics showed that RF was the most accurate for both H and LE gap-filling, while the LR and KNN model performed the worst for H and LE gap-filling, respectively.

Jianbin Zhang et al.

Status: open (extended)

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Jianbin Zhang et al.

Jianbin Zhang et al.


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Short summary
In this paper, we used Random Forest Model to fill the observation gaps of the fluxes measured during 2015–2019. We found that the net radiation was the most important input variable. And we justified the reliability of the model. Further, it was revealed that the model performed better after relative humidity was removed from the input. At last, we compared the results of the model with those of the other three machine learning models, and we found that the model outperformed all of them.