Observations of a two-layer soil moisture influence on surface energy dynamics and planetary boundary layer characteristics in a semiarid shrubland

Zulia Mayari Sanchez-Mejia, Shirley Papuga

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We present an observational analysis examining soil moisture control on surface energy dynamics and planetary boundary layer characteristics. Understanding soil moisture control on land-atmosphere interactions will become increasingly important as climate change continues to alter water availability. In this study, we analyzed 4 years of data from the Santa Rita Creosote Ameriflux site. We categorized our data independently in two ways: (1) wet or dry seasons and (2) one of the four cases within a two-layer soil moisture framework for the root zone based on the presence or absence of moisture in shallow (0-20 cm) and deep (20-60 cm) soil layers. Using these categorizations, we quantified the soil moisture control on surface energy dynamics and planetary boundary layer characteristics using both average responses and linear regression. Our results highlight the importance of deep soil moisture in land-atmosphere interactions. The presence of deep soil moisture decreased albedo by about 10%, and significant differences were observed in evaporative fraction even in the absence of shallow moisture. The planetary boundary layer height (PBLh) was largest when the whole soil profile was dry, decreasing by about 1 km when the whole profile was wet. Even when shallow moisture was absent but deep moisture was present the PBLh was significantly lower than when the entire profile was dry. The importance of deep moisture is likely site-specific and modulated through vegetation. Therefore, understanding these relationships also provides important insights into feedbacks between vegetation and the hydrologic cycle and their consequent influence on the climate system. Key Points Shallow and deep soil moisture influence surface energy dynamics Soil moisture in the deep layer is linked with decreased ecosystem albedo Soil moisture in the deep layer is linked with planetary boundary layer height

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)306-317
Number of pages12
JournalWater Resources Research
Volume50
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2014

Fingerprint

shrubland
surface energy
boundary layer
soil moisture
moisture
albedo
creosote
atmosphere
vegetation
water availability
wet season
soil profile
rhizosphere
dry season
climate change
ecosystem
climate

Keywords

  • albedo
  • available energy
  • creosotebush
  • eddy covariance
  • evaporative fraction
  • Larrea tridentata
  • Santa Rita Experimental Range

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology

Cite this

Observations of a two-layer soil moisture influence on surface energy dynamics and planetary boundary layer characteristics in a semiarid shrubland. / Sanchez-Mejia, Zulia Mayari; Papuga, Shirley.

In: Water Resources Research, Vol. 50, No. 1, 01.2014, p. 306-317.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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