DOI: 10.1029/2023jd039586 ISSN: 2169-897X

Airborne Measurements of Scale‐Dependent Latent Heat Flux Impacted by Water Vapor and Vertical Velocity Over Heterogeneous Land Surfaces During the CHEESEHEAD19 Campaign

Guo Lin, Zhien Wang, Yufei Chu, Conrad L. Ziegler, Xiao‐Ming Hu, Ming Xue, Bart Geerts, Sreenath Paleri, Ankur R. Desai, Kang Yang, Min Deng, Jonathan DeGraw
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Geophysics


The water vapor transport associated with latent heat flux (LE) in the planetary boundary layer (PBL) is critical for the atmospheric hydrological cycle, radiation balance, and cloud formation. The spatiotemporal variability of LE and water vapor mixing ratio (rv) are poorly understood due to the scale‐dependent and nonlinear atmospheric transport responses to land surface heterogeneity. Here, airborne in situ measurements with the wavelet technique are utilized to investigate scale‐dependent relationships among LE, vertical velocity (w) variance (), and rv variance () over a heterogeneous surface during the Chequamegon Heterogeneous Ecosystem Energy‐balance Study Enabled by a High‐density Extensive Array of Detectors 2019 (CHEESEHEAD19) field campaign. Our findings reveal distinct scale distributions of LE, , and at 100 m height, with a majority scale range of 120 m–4 km in LE, 32 m–2 km in , and 200 m–8 km in . The scales are classified into three scale ranges, the turbulent scale (8–200 m), large‐eddy scale (200 m–2 km), and mesoscale (2–8 km) to evaluate scale‐resolved LE contributed by and . The large‐eddy scale in PBL contributes over 70% of the monthly mean total LE with equal parts (50%) of contributions from and . The monthly temporal variations mainly come from the first two major contributing classified scales in LE, , and . These results confirm the dominant role of the large‐eddy scale in the PBL in the vertical moisture transport from the surface to the PBL, while the mesoscale is shown to contribute an additional ∼20%. This analysis complements published scale‐dependent LE variations, which lack detailed scale‐dependent vertical velocity and moisture information.

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