Journal of Arid Land

, Volume 10, Issue 4, pp 517–533 | Cite as

Eddy covariance measurements of water vapor and energy flux over a lake in the Badain Jaran Desert, China

  • Jie Sun
  • Wenfeng Hu
  • Nai’ang WangEmail author
  • Liqiang Zhao
  • Ran An
  • Kai Ning
  • Xunhe Zhang


Exploring the surface energy exchange between atmosphere and water bodies is essential to gain a quantitative understanding of regional climate change, especially for the lakes in the desert. In this study, measurements of energy flux and water vapor were performed over a lake in the Badain Jaran Desert, China from March 2012 to March 2013. The studied lake had about a 2-month frozen period (December and January) and a 10-month open-water period (February–November). Latent heat flux (LE) and sensible heat flux (Hs) acquired using the eddy covariance technique were argued by measurements of longwave and shortwave radiation. Both fluxes of longwave and shortwave radiation showed seasonal dynamics and daily fluctuations during the study period. The reflected solar radiation was much higher in winter than in other seasons. LE exhibited diurnal and seasonal variations. On a daily scale, LE was low in the morning and peaked in the afternoon. From spring (April) to winter (January), the diurnal amplitude of LE decreased slowly. LE was the dominant heat flux throughout the year and consumed most of the energy from the lake. Generally speaking, LE was mostly affected by changes in the ambient wind speed, while Hs was primarily affected by the product of water-air temperature difference and wind speed. The diurnal LE and Hs were negatively correlated in the open-water period. The variations in Hs and LE over the lake were differed from those on the nearby land surface. The mean evaporation rate on the lake was about 4.0 mm/d over the entire year, and the cumulative annual evaporation rate was 1445 mm/a. The cumulative annual evaporation was 10 times larger than the cumulative annual precipitation. Furthermore, the average evaporation rates over the frozen period and open-water period were approximately 0.6 and 5.0 mm/d, respectively. These results can be used to analyze the water balance and quantify the source of lake water in the Badain Jaran Desert.


eddy covariance energy flux radiation evaporation precipitation lake Badain Jaran Desert 


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This research was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (41530745), the Central Asia Atmospheric Science Research Fund (CAAS201703) and the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (lzujbky-2016-267). We thank NIU Zhenmin, ZHANG Zhenyu, SHEN Shiping, MA Ning and many other people in the Center for Desert and Arid Region Research, Lanzhou University for their contribution to the field work. We are grateful to the reviewers for their valuable comments on this manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography, the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jie Sun
    • 1
  • Wenfeng Hu
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Nai’ang Wang
    • 1
    Email author
  • Liqiang Zhao
    • 1
  • Ran An
    • 1
  • Kai Ning
    • 1
  • Xunhe Zhang
    • 1
  1. 1.College of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Center for Desert and Arid Region ResearchLanzhou UniversityLanzhouChina
  2. 2.Center for Central Asian Atmosphere Science ResearchUrumqiChina
  3. 3.Fuyang Normal UniversityFuyangChina

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