Science in China Series D: Earth Sciences

, Volume 51, Issue 5, pp 721–729 | Cite as

A temperature prediction-correction method for estimating surface soil heat flux from soil temperature and moisture data



Surface soil heat flux is a component of surface energy budget and its estimation is needed in land-atmosphere interaction studies. This paper develops a new simple method to estimate soil heat flux from soil temperature and moisture observations. It gives soil temperature profile with the thermal diffusion equation and, then, adjusts the temperature profile with differences between observed and computed soil temperatures. The soil flux is obtained through integrating the soil temperature profile. Compared with previous methods, the new method does not require accurate thermal conductivity. Case studies based on observations, synthetic data, and sensitivity analyses show that the new method is preferable and the results obtained with it are not sensitive to the availability of temperature data in the topsoil. In addition, we pointed out that the soil heat flux measured with a heat-plate can be quite erroneous in magnitude though its phase is accurate.


soil heat flux thermal conductivity temperature correction heat-plate 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Bhumralkar C M. Numerical Experiments on the computation of ground temperature in an atmospheric general circulation model. J Appl Meteorol, 1975, 14: 1246–1258CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Heusinkveld B G, Jacobs A F G, Holtslag A A M, et al. Surface energy balance closure in an arid region: Role of soil heat flux. Agric For Meteorol, 2004, 122(1–2): 21–37CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Tanaka K, Ishikawa H, Hayashi T, et al. Surface energy budget at Amdo on the Tibetan Plateau using GAME/Tibet IOP98 data. J Meteorol Soc Jpn, 2001, 79(1B): 505–517CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Li C, Duan T, Chen L, et al. Calculation of the soil heat exchange in Qinghal-Tibet Plateau. J Chengdu Inst Meteorol (in Chinese), 1999, 14(2): 129–138Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Horton R, Wierenga P J, Nielsen D R. Evaluation of methods for determining the apparent thermal diffusivity of soll near the surface. Soil Sci Soc Am J, 1983, 47: 25–32Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Mo X, Li H, Liu S, et al. Estimating of the soil thermal conductivity and heat flux in near surface layer from soil temperature. Chin J Eco Agric (in Chinese), 2002, 10(1): 62–64Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Fan X, Tang M. A preliminary study on conductive and convective soil heat flux. Plat Meteorol (in Chinese), 1994, 13(1): 14–19Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Gao Z, Fan X, Bian L. An analytical solution to one-dimensional thermal conduction-convection in soil. Soil Sci, 2003, 168(2): 99–107CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Gao Z. Determination of soil heat flux in a Tibetan short-grass prairie. Bound-Layer Meteorol, 2005, 114: 165–178CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Ma Y, Su Z, Li Z L, et al. Determination of regional net radiation and soil heat flux densities over heterogeneous landscape of the Tibetan Plateau. Hydrol Proc, 2002, 16(15): 2963–2971CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Zhang L, Jiang H, Li L. Study of calculation of soil heat conduction: Progress and prospect. J Glaciol Geocryol (in Chinese), 2004, 26(5): 569–575Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Dong W, Tang M. Preliminary results of mean soil heat flux calculated by soil temperature data observed at meteorological stations. Plateau Meteorol, 1992, 11(2): 115–125.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Sellers P J, Randall D A, Collatz G J, et al. A revised land surface parameterization (SiB2) for atmospheric GCMs. Part I: Model formulation. J Clim, 1996, 9: 676–705CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Oleson K W, Dai Y, Bonan G, et al. Technical Description of the Community Land Model (CLM). NCAR Technical Note, NCAR/TN-461+STR. 2004Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Ogée J, Lamaud E, Brunet Y, et al. A long-term study of soil heat flux under a forest canopy. Agric For Meteorol, 2001, 106: 173–186CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Koike T, Yasunari T, Wang J, et al. GAME-Tibet IOP summary report. In: Numaguti A, Liu L, Tian L, eds. Proceedings of the 1st International Workshop on GAME-Tibet, 1999 January 11–13, Xi’an. Tokyo: Japan Soc of Snow and Ice, 1999. 1–2Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Yang K, Koike T, Fujii H, et al. Improvement of surface flux with a turbulence-related length. Q J R Meteorol Soc, 2002, 128: 2073–2087CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Yang K, Koike T, Yang D. Surface flux parameterization in the Tibetan Plateau. Bound-Layer Meteorol, 2003, 106: 245–262CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Yang K, Koike T, Ishikawa H, et al. Analysis of the surface energy budget at a site of GAME/Tibet using a single-source model. J Meteorol Soc Jpn, 2004, 82: 131–153CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Hu H P, Ye B S, Zhou Y H, et al. A land surface model incorporated with soil freeze/thaw and its application in GAME/Tibet. Sci China Ser D-Earth Sci, 2006, 49(12): 1311–1322CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Yang K, Koike T, Ye B, et al. Inverse analysis of the role of soil vertical heterogeneity in controlling surface soil state and energy partition. J Geophys Res, 2005, 110: D08101, doi:10.1029/2004JD005500Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Philip J R. The theory of heat flux meters. J Geophys Res, 1961, 66: 571–579CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Van Loon W K P, Bastings H M H, Moors E J. Calibration of soil heat flux sensors. Agric For Meteorol, 1998, 92(1): 1–8CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Science in China Press and Springer-Verlag GmbH 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Tibetan Plateau ResearchChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  2. 2.Cold and Arid Regions Environmental and Engineering Research InstituteChinese Academy of SciencesLanzhouChina

Personalised recommendations