, Volume 58, Issue 4, pp 329-354

Average fluxes from heterogeneous vegetated regions

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Using a surface-layer model, fluxes of heat and momentum have been calculated for flat regions with regularly spaced step changes in surface roughness and stomatal resistance. The distance between successive step changes is limited to 10 km in order to fill the gap between micro-meteorological measurements and meso-scale models. A single-layer ‘big leaf’ model of the vegetation is compared with a multi-layer model to assess the performance of the former in the determination of surface fluxes in heterogeneous terrain.

The sub-models of vegetation and atmosphere are mainly based on well-known theory. However, a modification of the mixing-length closure of atmospheric exchange is included to achieve a more realistic calculation of fluxes near step changes at the surface. Measurements, presented in the literature, are used to determine the mixing-length parameters and to validate the calculated fluxes downwind of a change in vegetation cover.

The single-layer model, well validated for homogeneous surfaces, underestimates the effects of local advection upon the surface fluxes as this model neglects air flow across the edges of tall vegetation. Using the multi-layer model, local advection results in an increase of up to 50% in regional momentum flux and smaller changes in regional evaporation. Even widely spaced heterogeneities appear to influence regional fluxes.