Observations of dry season surface energy exchanges over a desert clay pan, Queensland, Australia

Observations of dry season surface energy exchanges over a desert clay pan, Queensland, Australia Journal Article

Journal of Arid Environments

  • Author(s): Sturman, A. P., McGowan, H. A.
  • Published: 2009
  • Volume: 73
  • ISBN: 0140-1963

Abstract: Clay pans (playas) are common landforms of semi-arid and arid desert regions ranging in size from 1 to 2km2 to greater than 10,000km2. The first observations of surface energy exchanges over a clay pan in central Australia using the eddy covariance method are presented. Measurements were obtained in the late dry season (September) before the onset of the Australian summer monsoon under clear skies and weak synoptic winds for five consecutive days. Sensible heat flux displayed an upward trend over the observation period reaching a peak of approximately 50% of net radiation over the period, while latent heat flux declined as the clay pan became dryer. Ground heat flux was similar in magnitude to sensible heat flux reaching maximum values near noon, approximately 2h before daily maximum sensible heat flux. Net radiation and ground heat flux both reached minimum values 1–2h after sunset and then gradually increased towards sunrise, while sensible and latent heat flux remained close to zero. Bowen Ratio values increased from 4.08 to 6.12 over the study period as the surface dried. Results highlight clay pans as significant sources of sensible heat in desert landscapes.

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Suggested Citation
Sturman, A. P., McGowan, H. A., 2009, Observations of dry season surface energy exchanges over a desert clay pan, Queensland, Australia, Volume:73, Journal Article, viewed 10 August 2022, https://www.nintione.com.au/?p=14696.

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