Diurnal and seasonal variation of heat fluxes over an agricultural field in southeastern Nepal

  • Ram Hari Acharya
  • Madan SigdelEmail author
  • Yaoming MaEmail author
  • Binbin Wang


The southeastern part of Nepal is traditionally known as the entrance of the South Asian summer monsoon system (SASM) and plays a vital role in the development of the national agro-economy. This research examined the diurnal and seasonal variation in the heat and mass fluxes. The study area lies in the agricultural fields that maintain crop cycles. Half-hourly data for a period of 54 months starting in October 2012 were obtained from the Tarahara surface flux observation system (SFOS), and the analyzed data included fast response eddy covariance measurements. The results show that all radiation components changed diurnally and seasonally, except for downward longwave radiation, which revealed weak diurnal variation during winter months. The winter surface albedo of the agricultural field was higher than the summer surface albedo and varied from 0.13 to 0.19. Latent heat release was found to be strongest during the summer season and was associated with atmospheric moisture content and precipitation. Sensible heat becomes weaker during summer and exhibits significant variation during winter months. The sensible heat flux increased rapidly with the increasing radiation flux during the pre-monsoon, which is a major energy source for driving atmospheric systems. The partitioning of energy into turbulent fluxes was also analyzed and it was found that the released latent heat consumed 67% of the net radiation; furthermore, 21% was consumed by the released sensible heat. The response of the land surface heat fluxes to the large-scale circulation system was clearly identified on the basis of the highest peak values observed in 2015 and 2016.



The authors acknowledge the Central Department of Hydrology and Meteorology, Tribhuvan University for providing a research platform and the Institute of Tibetan Plateau Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences for managing the surface flux data. We would like to thank Dr. Pukar Man Amatya for establishment and regular maintenance of surface flux observation system in Tarahara.

Funding information

This research was funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (41661144043) and the Chinese Academy of Sciences (Grant No. QYZDJ-SSW-DQC019). First author was financially supported by KCRE excellent student thesis grants award 2017 during his M.Sc.


  1. Adhikari S (2012) Seasonal and spatial variation of solar radiation in Nepal Himalayas. J Hydrol Meteorol 8:1–9CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Amatya PM, Ma Y, Han C, Wang B, Devkota LP (2015a) Estimation of net radiation flux distribution on the southern slopes of the central Himalayas using MODIS data. Atmos Res 154:146–154CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Amatya PM, Ma Y, Han C et al (2015b) Recent trends (2003–2013) of land surface heat fluxes on the southern side of the central Himalayas, Nepal. J Geophys Res Atmos 120(11):957–911 970Google Scholar
  4. Bai J, Wang J, Chen X, Luo GP, Shi H, Li LH, Li JL (2015) Seasonal and inter-annual variations in carbon fluxes and evapotranspiration over cotton field under drip irrigation with plastic mulch in an arid region of Northwest China. J Arid Land 7:272–284CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bi X, Gao Z, Deng X, Wu D, Liang J, Zhang H, Sparrow M, du J, Li F, Tan H (2007) Seasonal and diurnal variations in moisture, heat, and CO2 fluxes over grassland in the tropical monsoon region of southern China. J Geophys Res Atmos 112:D10106.
  6. Boos WR, Kuang Z (2010) Dominant control of the South Asian monsoon by orographic insulation versus plateau heating. Nature 463:218–222CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Boos WR, Kuang Z (2013) Sensitivity of the South Asian monsoon to elevated and non-elevated heating. Sci Rep 3:1192CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bowen IS (1926) The ratio of heat losses by conduction and by evaporation from any water surface. Phys Rev 27:779–787CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Brümmer C, Falk U, Papen H, Szarzynski J, Wassmann R, Brüggemann N (2008) Diurnal, seasonal, and interannual variation in carbon dioxide and energy exchange in shrub savanna in Burkina Faso (West Africa). J Geophys Res Biogeosci 113.
  10. Burba GG, Verma SB, Kim J (1999) Surface energy fluxes of Phragmites australis in a prairie wetland. Agric For Meteorol 94:31–51CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Businger JA (1986) Evaluation of the accuracy with which dry deposition can be measured with current micrometeorological techniques. J Clim Appl Meteorol 25:1100–1124CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Chaudhary A (1999) A long term fertility test on Munsuli rice in Nepal. Agriculture Research Council, TaraharaGoogle Scholar
  13. Desai AR, Noormets A, Bolstad PV, Chen J, Cook BD, Davis KJ, Euskirchen ES, Gough C, Martin JG, Ricciuto DM, Schmid HP, Tang J, Wang W (2008) Influence of vegetation and seasonal forcing on carbon dioxide fluxes across the Upper Midwest, USA: implications for regional scaling. Agric For Meteorol 148:288–308CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Foken T (2008a) The energy balance closure problem: an overview. Ecol Appl 18:1351–1367CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Foken T (2008b) Micrometeorology, 2nd edn. Springer-Verlag, Berlin Heidelberg.
  16. Foken T, Oncley S (1995) Workshop on instrumental and methodical problems of land surface flux measurements. Bull Am Meteorol Soc 76:1191–1193CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Foken T, Wichura B (1996) Tools for quality assessment of surface-based flux measurements. Agric For Meteorol 78:83–105CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Gao Z, Lenschow DH, He Z, Zhou M (2009) Seasonal and diurnal variations in moisture, heat and CO 2 fluxes over a typical steppe prairie in Inner Mongolia, China. Hydrol Earth Syst Sci 13:987–998CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Gu J, Smith EA, Merritt JD (1999) Testing energy balance closure with GOES-retrieved net radiation and in situ measured eddy correlation fluxes in BOREAS. J Geophys Res Atmos 104:27881–27893CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Gu L, Meyers T, Pallardy SG, Hanson PJ, Yang B, Heuer M, Hosman KP, Riggs JS, Sluss D, Wullschleger SD (2006) Direct and indirect effects of atmospheric conditions and soil moisture on surface energy partitioning revealed by a prolonged drought at a temperate forest site. J Geophys Res Atmos 111.
  21. Hanks RJ (1992) Applied soil physics: soil water and temperature applications. Springer-Verlag, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  22. Harazono Y, Kim J, Miyata A, Choi T, Yun JI, Kim JW (1998) Measurement of energy budget components during the international rice experiment (IREX) in Japan. Hydrol Process 12:2081–2092CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Hardy JT (2003) Climate change: causes, effects, and solutions. John Wiley & Sons, HobokenGoogle Scholar
  24. Hernandez-Ramirez G, Hatfield JL, Prueger JH, Sauer TJ (2010) Energy balance and turbulent flux partitioning in a corn–soybean rotation in the midwestern US. Theor Appl Climatol 100:79–92CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Hillel D (1982) Introduction to soil physics.
  26. Hipps LE, Prueger JH, Eichinger WE, Kustas WP (2006) Relations between environmental conditions and the ability to close the energy balance. In: Proceedings of the 27th Conference on Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, San Diego, CA, 2006 CDROMGoogle Scholar
  27. Kaimal JC, Finnigan JJ (1994) Atmospheric boundary layer flows: their structure and measurement. Oxford University Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  28. Karki R, Talchabhadel R, Aalto J, Baidya SK (2016) New climatic classification of Nepal. Theor Appl Climatol 125:799–808CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Khadka D, Lamichhane S, Shrestha SR, Pant BB (2017) Evaluation of soil fertility status of Regional Agricultural Research Station, Tarahara, Sunsari, Nepal. Eur J Soil Sci 6:295–306Google Scholar
  30. Lee X, Massman WJ, Law BE (2006) Handbook of micrometeorology a guide for surface flux measurement and analysis. Kluwer Academic Publishers, DordrechtGoogle Scholar
  31. Li M, Babel W, Chen X et al (2015) A 3-year dataset of sensible and latent heat fluxes from the Tibetan Plateau, derived using eddy covariance measurements. Theor Appl Climatol 122:457–469CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Liebethal C, Huwe B, Foken T (2005) Sensitivity analysis for two ground heat flux calculation approaches. Agric For Meteorol 132:253–262CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Liu H, Tu G, Fu C, Shi L (2008) Three-year variations of water, energy and CO2 fluxes of cropland and degraded grassland surfaces in a semi-arid area of northeastern China. Adv Atmos Sci 25:1009–1020CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Ma Y, Fan S, Ishikawa H, Tsukamoto O, Yao T, Koike T, Zuo H, Hu Z, Su Z (2005) Diurnal and inter-monthly variation of land surface heat fluxes over the central Tibetan Plateau area. Theor Appl Climatol 80:259–273CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Ma Y, Kang S, Zhu L, Xu B, Tian L, Yao T (2008) Tibetan Observation And Research Platform- atmosphere–land interaction over a heterogeneous landscape. Bull Am Meteorol Soc 89:1487–1492CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Moore CJ (1986) Frequency response corrections for eddy correlation systems. Bound-Layer Meteorol 37:17–35CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Ohtaki E (1984) Application of an infrared carbon dioxide and humidity instrument to studies of turbulent transport. Bound-Layer Meteorol 29:85–107CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Ohtaki E, Matsui T (1982) Infrared device for simultaneous measurement of fluctuations of atmospheric carbon dioxide and water vapor. Bound-Layer Meteorol 24:109–119CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Oke TR (1992) Boundary layer climates. Routledge, LondonGoogle Scholar
  40. Rai YK, Ale BB, Alam J (2011) Impact assessment of climate change on paddy yield: a case study of Nepal Agriculture Research Council (NARC), Tarahara, Nepal. J Inst Eng 8:147–167CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Rakhecha P, Singh VP (2009) Applied Hydrometeorology. Springer Netherlands, Dordrecht.
  42. Regmi S, Adhikary S (2012) Solar energy potential in Kathmandu Valley, Nepal. J Hydrol Meteorol 8:77–82CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Rodda SR, Thumaty KC, Jha CS, Dadhwal VK (2016) Seasonal variations of carbon dioxide, water vapor and energy fluxes in tropical Indian mangroves. Forests 7:35CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Toda M, Nishida K, Ohte N et al (2002) Observations of energy fluxes and evapotranspiration over terrestrial complex land covers in the tropical monsoon environment. J Meteorol Soc Jpn Ser II 80:465–484CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Tsuang B-J (2005) Ground heat flux determination according to land skin temperature observations from in situ stations and satellites. J Hydrometeorol 6:371–390CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Webb EK, Pearman GI, Leuning R (1980) Correction of flux measurements for density effects due to heat and water vapour transfer. Q J R Meteorol Soc 106:85–100CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Wever LA, Flanagan LB, Carlson PJ (2002) Seasonal and interannual variation in evapotranspiration, energy balance and surface conductance in a northern temperate grassland. Agric For Meteorol 112:31–49CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Wilson KB, Baldocchi DD (2000) Seasonal and interannual variability of energy fluxes over a broadleaved temperate deciduous forest in North America. Agric For Meteorol 100:1–18CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Wilson KB, Baldocchi DD, Aubinet M, Berbigier P, Bernhofer C, Dolman H, Falge E, Field C, Goldstein A, Granier A, Grelle A, Halldor T, Hollinger D, Katul G, Law BE, Lindroth A, Meyers T, Moncrieff J, Monson R, Oechel W, Tenhunen J, Valentini R, Verma S, Vesala T, Wofsy S (2002) Energy partitioning between latent and sensible heat flux during the warm season at FLUXNET sites. Water Resour Res 38:30-1–30-11CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Wu G, Liu Y (2016) Impacts of the Tibetan Plateau on Asian climate. Meteorol Monogr 56:7–1CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Wu G, Liu Y, He B, Bao Q, Duan A, Jin FF (2012) Thermal controls on the Asian summer monsoon. Sci Rep 2:404CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Yang Y, Qiu J, Su H, Bai Q, Liu S, Li L, Yu Y, Huang Y (2017) A one-source approach for estimating land surface heat fluxes using remotely sensed land surface temperature. Remote Sens 9:43CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Austria, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Central Department of Hydrology and MeteorologyTribhuvan UniversityKathmanduNepal
  2. 2.Institute of Tibetan Plateau ResearchChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  3. 3.CAS Center for Excellence in Tibetan Plateau Earth ScienceBeijingChina
  4. 4.University of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina

Personalised recommendations