Theoretical and Applied Climatology

, Volume 100, Issue 3–4, pp 251–260 | Cite as

Modelling soil heat flux

  • Claudia M. NúñezEmail author
  • Eduardo A. Varas
  • Francisco J. Meza
Original Paper


A mathematical model to calculate soil heat flux in three steps is presented. In the first, an hourly air temperature based on the average daily temperature, using Fourier series coefficients is estimated. The estimated hourly air temperature constitutes an input variable for the second step of the model. In the second step, heat transfer principles, using the thermal properties of the soil in order to obtain a soil temperature profile in a 1-m-depth soil stratum, is applied. Finally, the results of the second stage are used to numerically calculate hourly heat flux in the soil. Correlation coefficients between observed and calculated hourly temperature values over the three summer months were 0.98, 0.97 and 0.96. Correlation coefficient for the entire study period between observed and estimated soil heat-flux values was 0.92 with a mean square error of 19.8 W m–2.


Heat Flux Fourier Series Energy Balance Equation Soil Heat Flux Hourly Temperature 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This research was supported by FONDECYT throughout grant 1060544.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Claudia M. Núñez
    • 1
    • 3
    Email author
  • Eduardo A. Varas
    • 1
  • Francisco J. Meza
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Hydraulic and Environmental EngineeringPontificia Universidad Católica de ChileSantiagoChile
  2. 2.Interdisciplinary Center for Global Change (CICG-UC)Facultad de Agronomía e Ingeniería Forestal,Pontificia Universidad Católica de ChileSantiagoChile
  3. 3.Pontificia Universidad Católica de ChileSantiagoChile

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