Theoretical and Applied Climatology

, Volume 53, Issue 1–3, pp 49–58 | Cite as

Energy balance comparison of the Hartheim forest and an adjacent grassland site during the HartX experiment

  • W. Wicke
  • Ch. Bernhofer


Energy balance components over a grassland surface were compared to those obtained above an adjacent, uniform Scots pine plantation during a five-day period of fine, sunny, spring weather. Soils were judged to contain ample water. Shortwave and total radiation flux densities were measured at both sites with pyranometers and total pyrradiometers. Soil heat flux densities were measured with heat flux plates at both sites, and additional storage changes were estimated for air and canopy at the forest site. The forest gained more shortwave energy than the grassland during daytime because of its lower albedo, but it lost more longwave radiation at night. The turbulent fluxes of sensible and latent energy were evaluated with the Bowen ratio energy balance (BREB) method at both sites. Temperature and humidity gradients were measured with fixed psychrometers at the grassland site, and with interchanging psychrometers at the forest site. Mean daily evapotranspiration (ET) averaged 2.26 mm over the five days for the Scots pine, or only 57 percent of the 3.94 mm measured at the grassland site. The mean Bowen ratios were 2.6 and 0.8, respectively.

An error analysis was carried out for the BREB estimates of latent heat flux at the two sites. For a given error in latent heat flux and at a specified Bowen ratio the demands on accuracy of dry- and wet-bulb temperature gradients above the rough forest canopy was found to be 10 times higher than above the smoother grassland. If additionally the observed differences in transpiration rates between the two sites were taken into account, the precision for temperature gradient measurements above the slowly transpiring forest becomes fortyfold greater than required above the rapidly transpiring grass. At present, BREB precision requirements for gradients above rougher, drier canopies appear achievable only through use of specialized instrumentation, such as measurement systems that incorporate interchangeable psychrometers into their design.


Heat Flux Latent Heat Flux Forest Site Heat Flux Density Bowen Ratio 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • W. Wicke
    • 1
  • Ch. Bernhofer
    • 2
  1. 1.Meteorological InstituteUniversity of FreiburgGermany
  2. 2.Institute of Meteorology and Physics (IMP)Universität für BodenkulturViennaAustria

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