Evapotranspiration and surface energy balance across an agricultural-urban landscape gradient in Southern California, USA.

Thursday, 18 December 2014
Sheri A Shiflett1, Ray G Anderson2 and Darrel Jenerette1, (1)University of California Riverside, Riverside, CA, United States, (2)Agricultural Research Service Riverside, Riverside, CA, United States
Urbanization substantially affects energy, surface and air temperature, and hydrology due to extensive modifications in land surface properties such as vegetation, albedo, thermal capacity and soil moisture. The magnitude and direction of these alterations depends heavily on the type of urbanization that occurs. We investigated energy balance variation in a local network of agricultural and urban ecosystems using the eddy covariance method to better understand how vegetation fraction and degree of urbanization affects energy exchanges between the land surface and the atmosphere. We deployed eddy flux systems within a well-irrigated, agricultural citrus orchard, a moderately developed urban zone with a substantial amount of local vegetative cover, and an intensely developed urban zone with minimal vegetative cover and increased impervious surfaces relative to the other two sites. Latent energy (LE) fluxes in the agricultural area ranged from 7.9 ± 1.4 W m-2 (nighttime) to 168.7 ± 6.2 W m-2 (daytime) compared to 10.2 ± 3.5 W m-2 and 40.6 ± 4.1 W m-2, respectively, for the moderately developed urban area. Sensible energy (H) fluxes ranged from -9.1 ± 1.0 W m-2 (nighttime) to 119 ± 7.0 W m-2 (daytime) in the agricultural area compared to 9.6 ± 2.6 W m-2  and 134 ± 6.0 W m-2, respectively, for the moderately developed urban zone. Daytime LE is reduced with increasing urbanization; however, daily cycles of LE are less recognizable in urban areas compared to distinct daily cycles obtained above a mature citrus crop. In contrast, both daytime and nighttime H increases with increasing degree of urbanization. Reduction in vegetation and increases in impervious surfaces along an urbanization gradient leads to alterations in energy balance, which are associated with microclimate and water use changes.