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Combined analysis of energy and water balances to estimate latent heat flux of a sudanian small catchment

Abstract : Actual evapotranspiration is one of the major components of both energy and water budgets, but is often difficult to monitor over long period with sufficient accuracy. Within the framework of the “AMMA-CATCH” program, a project dedicated to the study of the West African Monsoon, a large aperture scintillometer has been installed in a small catchment (12 km2), located in the North of Benin, a region exposed to sudanian climate. The present study is an attempt to estimate the latent heat flux over this small but heterogeneous catchment based on scintillation and ground observations. The analysis covers the end of the dry season (lasting from February to April 2006). During this period two isolated rainfall events occurred, giving a unique opportunity to study energy and water budgets simultaneously. The comparison between the average sensible heat flux derived from scintillometer observations and the one obtained with conventional eddy correlation shows a relatively good agreement, where the scattering is mainly explained by differences in footprint associated with both instruments. A relevant hourly residual latent heat flux is then obtained through the energy balance equation, with careful attention brought to the net radiation, and the ground heat fluxes. The residual of the energy budget equation is compared to soil water losses from vadose zone and water table, in order to evaluate whether this estimation is consistent with the water budget of the ground. Daily soil water depletion within the first meter of the surface shows a similar dynamic as the one calculated from the energy balance equation, but exhibits a constant 1 mm/day lag. The excess of actual evapotranspiration is supposed to be explained by water table losses and root extraction by trees. Finally, this study shows how combined energy and water budget analysis can help to better understand water transfers at the watershed scale.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, September 2, 2009 - 11:27:35 AM
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Adrien Guyot, Jean-Martial Cohard, Sandrine Anquetin, Sylvie Galle, Colin R. Lloyd. Combined analysis of energy and water balances to estimate latent heat flux of a sudanian small catchment. Journal of Hydrology, Elsevier, 2009, 375 (1-2), pp.227-240. ⟨10.1016/j.jhydrol.2008.12.027⟩. ⟨insu-00412595⟩



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