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Revised eddy covariance flux calculation methodologies – effect on urban energy balance

Author(s): Annika Nordbo | Leena Järvi | Timo Vesala

Journal: Tellus B
ISSN 0280-6509

Volume: 64;
Start page: 1;
Date: 2012;
Original page

Keywords: eddy covariance | urban | energy balance | flux uncertainty | flux error

Eddy covariance (EC) measurements of turbulent fluxes of momentum, sensible heat and latent heat – in addition to net radiation measurements – were conducted for three consecutive years in an urban environment: Helsinki, Finland. The aims were to: (1) quantify the detection limit and random uncertainty of turbulent fluxes, (2) assess the systematic error caused by EC calculation-procedure choices on the energy balance residual and (3) report the energy balance of the world's northernmost urban flux station. The mean detection limits were about 10% of the observed flux, and the random uncertainty was 9–16%. Of all fluxes, the latent heat flux – as measured with a closed-path gas analyser – was most prone to systematic calculation errors due to water vapour interactions with tube walls: using a lag window that is too small can cause a 15% lack of data (due to the dependency of lag time on relative humidity) and omitting spectral corrections can cause on average a 26% underestimation of the flux. The systematic errors in EC calculation propagate into the energy balance residual and can be larger than the residual itself: for example, omitting spectral corrections overestimates the residual by 13% or 18% on average, depending on the analyser.
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