Please wait a minute...
Journal of Arid Land  2018, Vol. 10 Issue (4): 517-533    DOI: 10.1007/s40333-018-0057-3
Orginal Article     
Eddy covariance measurements of water vapor and energy flux over a lake in the Badain Jaran Desert, China
Jie SUN1, Wenfeng HU1,2,3, Nai'ang WANG1,*(), Liqiang ZHAO1, Ran AN1, Kai NING1, Xunhe ZHANG1
1 College of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Center for Desert and Arid Region Research, Lanzhou University, Lanzhou 730000, China
2 Center for Central Asian Atmosphere Science Research, Urumqi 830002, China
3 Fuyang Normal University, Fuyang 236037, China
Download: HTML     PDF(559KB)
Export: BibTeX | EndNote (RIS)      


Exploring the surface energy exchange between atmosphere and water bodies is essential to gain a quantitative understanding of regional climate change, especially for the lakes in the desert. In this study, measurements of energy flux and water vapor were performed over a lake in the Badain Jaran Desert, China from March 2012 to March 2013. The studied lake had about a 2-month frozen period (December and January) and a 10-month open-water period (February-November). Latent heat flux (LE) and sensible heat flux (Hs) acquired using the eddy covariance technique were argued by measurements of longwave and shortwave radiation. Both fluxes of longwave and shortwave radiation showed seasonal dynamics and daily fluctuations during the study period. The reflected solar radiation was much higher in winter than in other seasons. LE exhibited diurnal and seasonal variations. On a daily scale, LE was low in the morning and peaked in the afternoon. From spring (April) to winter (January), the diurnal amplitude of LE decreased slowly. LE was the dominant heat flux throughout the year and consumed most of the energy from the lake. Generally speaking, LE was mostly affected by changes in the ambient wind speed, while Hs was primarily affected by the product of water-air temperature difference and wind speed. The diurnal LE and Hs were negatively correlated in the open-water period. The variations in Hs and LE over the lake were differed from those on the nearby land surface. The mean evaporation rate on the lake was about 4.0 mm/d over the entire year, and the cumulative annual evaporation rate was 1445 mm/a. The cumulative annual evaporation was 10 times larger than the cumulative annual precipitation. Furthermore, the average evaporation rates over the frozen period and open-water period were approximately 0.6 and 5.0 mm/d, respectively. These results can be used to analyze the water balance and quantify the source of lake water in the Badain Jaran Desert.

Key wordseddy covariance      energy flux      radiation      evaporation      precipitation      lake      Badain Jaran Desert     
Received: 30 June 2017      Published: 10 August 2018
Corresponding Authors: Nai'ang WANG     E-mail:
Cite this article:

Jie SUN, Wenfeng HU, Nai'ang WANG, Liqiang ZHAO, Ran AN, Kai NING, Xunhe ZHANG. Eddy covariance measurements of water vapor and energy flux over a lake in the Badain Jaran Desert, China. Journal of Arid Land, 2018, 10(4): 517-533.

URL:     OR

[1] Al-Riahi M, Al-Jumaily K, Kamies I.2003. Measurements of net radiation and its components in semi-arid climate of Baghdad. Energy Conversion and Management, 44(4): 509-525.
[2] Aubinet M, Grelle A, Ibrom A, et al.2000. Estimates of the annual net carbon and water exchange of forests: The EUROFLUX methodology. Advances in Ecological Research, 30: 113-175.
[3] Baldocchi D.2014. Measuring fluxes of trace gases and energy between ecosystems and the atmosphere-the state and future of the eddy covariance method. Global Change Biology, 20(12): 3600-3609.
[4] Barford C C, Wofsy S C, Goulden M L, et al.2001. Factors controlling long-and short-term sequestration of atmospheric CO2 in a mid-latitude forest. Science, 294(5547): 1688-1691.
[5] Bates G T, Giorgi F, Hostetler S W.1993. Toward the simulation of the effects of the great lakes on regional climate. Monthly Weather Review, 121(5): 1373-1387.
[6] Bates G T, Hostetler S W, Giorgi F.1995. Two-year simulation of the great lakes region with a coupled modeling system. Monthly Weather Review, 123(5): 1505-1522.
[7] Berbert M L C, Costa M H.2003. Climate change after tropical deforestation: Seasonal variability of surface albedo and its effects on precipitation change. Journal of Climate, 16(12): 2099-2104.
[8] Beringer J, Tapper N.2002. Surface energy exchanges and interactions with thunderstorms during the Maritime Continent Thunderstorm Experiment (MCTEX). Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 107(D21): AAC 3-1-AAC 3-13.
[9] Biermann T, Babel W, Ma W Q, et al.2014. Turbulent flux observations and modelling over a shallow lake and a wet grassland in the Nam Co basin, Tibetan Plateau. Theoretical and Applied Climatology, 116(1-2): 301-316.
[10] Blanken P D, Rouse W R, Culf A D, et al.2000. Eddy covariance measurements of evaporation from Great Slave Lake, Northwest Territories, Canada. Water Resources Research, 36(4): 1069-1077.
[11] Blanken P D, Rouse W R, Schertzer W M.2003. Enhancement of evaporation from a large northern lake by the entrainment of warm, dry air. Journal of Hydrometeorology, 4(4): 680-693.
[12] Bonan G B.1995. Sensitivity of a gcm simulation to inclusion of inland water surfaces. Journal of Climate, 8(11): 2691-2704.
[13] Chen H B.2011. Weather monitoring and preliminary study of climate feature in the Badain Jaran Desert. MSc Thesis. Lanzhou: Lanzhou University. (in Chinese)
[14] Chen J S, Li L, Wang J Y, et al.2004. Water resources: Groundwater maintains dune landscape. Nature, 432(7016): 459-460.
[15] Dong C Y, Wang N A, Chen J S, et al.2016. New observational and experimental evidence for the recharge mechanism of the lake group in the Alxa Desert, north-central China. Journal of Arid Environments, 124: 48-61.
[16] Dong Z B, Wang T, Wang X M.2004. Geomorphology of the megadunes in the Badain Jaran Desert. Geomorphology, 60(1-2): 191-203.
[17] Downing J A, Prairie Y T, Cole J J, et al.2006. The global abundance and size distribution of lakes, ponds, and impoundments. Limnology and Oceanography, 51(5): 2388-2397.
[18] Falge E, Baldocchi D, Olson R, et al.2001. Gap filling strategies for defensible annual sums of net ecosystem exchange. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, 107(1): 43-69.
[19] Foken T, Wichura B.1996. Tools for quality assessment of surface-based flux measurements. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, 78(1-2): 83-105.
[20] Gallego-Elvira B, Baille A, Martín-Górriz B, et al.2010. Energy balance and evaporation loss of an agricultural reservoir in a semi-arid climate (south-eastern Spain). Hydrological Processes, 24(6): 758-766.
[21] Gash J H C, Dolman A J.2003. Sonic anemometer (co)sine response and flux measurement I. The potential for (co)sine error to affect sonic anemometer-based flux measurements. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, 119(3-4): 195-207.
[22] Gates J B, Edmunds W M, Darling W G, et al.2008a. Conceptual model of recharge to southeastern Badain Jaran Desert groundwater and lakes from environmental tracers. Applied Geochemistry, 23(12): 3519-3534.
[23] Gates J B, Edmunds W M, Ma J Z, et al.2008b. Estimating groundwater recharge in a cold desert environment in northern China using chloride. Hydrogeology Journal, 16(5): 893-910.
[24] Gupta S K, Ritchey N A, Wilber A C, et al.1999. A climatology of surface radiation budget derived from satellite data. Journal of Climate, 12(8): 2691-2710.
[25] Harazono Y, Shen J Y, Liu S M, et al.1992. Micrometeorological characteristics of a sand dune in the eastern part of Inner Mongolia, China in Autumn. Journal of Agricultural Meteorology, 47(4): 217-224.
[26] Hostetler S W, Bartlein P J.1990. Simulation of lake evaporation with application to modeling lake level variations of Harney-Malheur Lake, Oregon. Water Resources Research, 26(10): 2603-2612.
[27] Hostetler S W.1991. Simulation of lake ice and its effect on the late-Pleistocene evaporation rate of Lake Lahontan. Climate Dynamics, 6(1): 43-48.
[28] Hu W F, Wang N A, Zhao L Q, et al.2015. Surface energy and water vapor fluxes observed on a megadune in the Badain Jaran Desert, China. Journal of Arid Land, 7(5): 579-589.
[29] Hunt J E, Kelliher F M, McSeveny T M, et al.2002. Evaporation and carbon dioxide exchange between the atmosphere and a tussock grassland during a summer drought. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, 111(1): 65-82.
[30] Jung M, Reichstein M, Schwalm C R, et al.2017. Compensatory water effects link yearly global land CO2 sink changes to temperature. Nature, 541(7638): 516-520.
[31] Kaimal J C, Finnigan J J.1994. Atmospheric Boundary Layer Flows: Their Structure and Measurement. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1-65.
[32] Kellner E.2001. Surface energy fluxes and control of evapotranspiration from a Swedish Sphagnum mire. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, 110(2): 101-123.
[33] Kettle A J, Hughes C, Unazi G A, et al.2012. Role of groundwater exchange on the energy budget and seasonal stratification of a shallow temperate lake. Journal of Hydrology, 470-471: 12-27.
[34] Kljun N, Calanca P, Rotach M W, et al.2004. A simple parameterisation for flux footprint predictions. Boundary-Layer Meteorology, 112(3): 503-523.
[35] Kumagai T, Saitoh T M, Sato Y, et al.2005. Annual water balance and seasonality of evapotranspiration in a Bornean tropical rainforest. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, 128(1-2): 81-92.
[36] Lee X, Liu S D, Xiao W, et al.2014. The Taihu Eddy Flux Network: an observational program on energy, water, and greenhouse gas fluxes of a large freshwater lake. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 95(10): 1583-1594.
[37] Lemaire B J, Noss C, Lorke A.2017. Toward relaxed eddy accumulation measurements of sediment-water exchange in aquatic ecosystems. Geophysical Research Letters, 44(17): 8901-8909.
[38] Lenters J D, Kratz T K, Bowser C J.2005. Effects of climate variability on lake evaporation: Results from a long-term energy budget study of Sparkling Lake, northern Wisconsin (USA). Journal of Hydrology, 308(1-4): 168-195.
[39] Li X Y, Ma Y J, Huang Y M, et al.2016. Evaporation and surface energy budget over the largest high-altitude saline lake on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 121(8): 10470-10485.
[40] Liu H P, Zhang Y, Liu S H, et al.2009. Eddy covariance measurements of surface energy budget and evaporation in a cool season over southern open water in Mississippi. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 114(D4): D04110.
[41] Liu H P, Zhang Q Y, Dowler G.2012. Environmental controls on the surface energy budget over a large southern inland water in the United States: An analysis of one-year eddy covariance ?ux data. Journal of Hydrometeorology, 13(6): 1893-1910.
[42] Liu H Z, Feng J W, Sun J H, et al.2015. Eddy covariance measurements of water vapor and CO2 fluxes above the Erhai Lake. Science China Earth Sciences, 58(3): 317-328.
[43] Liu S M, Xu Z W, Zhu Z L, et al.2013. Measurements of evapotranspiration from eddy-covariance systems and large aperture scintillometers in the Hai River Basin, China. Journal of Hydrology, 487: 24-38.
[44] Loescher H W, Gholz H L, Jacobs J M, et al.2005. Energy dynamics and modeled evapotranspiration from a wet tropical forest in Costa Rica. Journal of Hydrology, 315(1-4): 274-294.
[45] Long Z, Perrie W, Gyakum J, et al.2007. Northern lake impacts on local seasonal climate. Journal of Hydrometeorology, 8(4): 881-896.
[46] Lorrai C, McGinnis D F, Berg P, et al.2010. Application of oxygen eddy correlation in aquatic systems. Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology, 27(9): 1533-1546.
[47] Ma N, Wang N A, Zhao L Q, et al.2014. Observation of mega-dune evaporation after various rain events in the hinterland of Badain Jaran Desert, China. Chinese Science Bulletin, 59(2): 162-170.
[48] Magnuson J J, Robertson D M, Benson B J, et al.2000. Historical trends in lake and river ice cover in the Northern Hemisphere. Science, 289(5485): 1743-1746.
[49] Malhi Y, Pegoraro E, Nobre A D, et al.2002. Energy and water dynamics of a central Amazonian rain forest. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 107(D20), doi: 10.1029/2001JD000623.
[50] McGloin R, McGowan H, McJannet D, et al.2014. Quantification of surface energy fluxes from a small water body using scintillometry and eddy covariance. Water Resources Research, 50(1): 494-513.
[51] Moncrieff J, Clement R, Finnigan J, et al.2005. Averaging, detrending, and filtering of eddy covariance time series. In: Lee X, Massman W, Law B. Handbook of Micrometeorology: A Guide for Surface Flux Measurement and Analysis. Dordrecht: Springer, 7-31.
[52] Nakai T, van der Molen M K, Gash J H C, et al.2006. Correction of sonic anemometer angle of attack errors. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, 136(1-2): 19-30.
[53] Nordbo A, Launiainen S, Mammarella I, et al.2011. Long-term energy flux measurements and energy balance over a small boreal lake using eddy covariance technique. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 116(D2): D02119.
[54] Oswald C J, Rouse W R.2004. Thermal characteristics and energy balance of various-size Canadian Shield lakes in the Mackenzie River basin. Journal of Hydrometeorology, 5(1): 129-144.
[55] Pan X, Liu Y B, Fan X W, et al.2017. Two energy balance closure approaches: applications and comparisons over an oasis-desert ecotone. Journal of Arid Land, 9(1): 51-64.
[56] Rioual P, Lu Y B, Yang H D, et al.2013. Diatom-environment relationships and a transfer function for conductivity in lakes of the Badain Jaran Desert, Inner Mongolia, China. Journal of Paleolimnology, 50(2): 207-229.
[57] Rosenberry D O, Winter T C, Buso D C, et al.2007. Comparison of 15 evaporation methods applied to a small mountain lake in the northeastern USA. Journal of Hydrology, 340(3-4): 149-166.
[58] Rouse W R, Oswald C M, Binyamin J, et al.2003. Interannual and seasonal variability of the surface energy balance and temperature of central Great Slave Lake. Journal of Hydrometeorology, 4(4): 720-730.
[59] Rouse W R, Oswald C J, Binyamin J, et al.2005. The role of northern lakes in a regional energy balance. Journal of Hydrometeorology, 6(3): 291-305.
[60] Schertzer W M, Rouse W R, Blanken P D.2000. Cross-lake variation of physical limnological and climatological processes of Great Slave Lake. Physical Geography, 21(5): 385-406.
[61] Schertzer W M, Rouse W R, Blanken P D, et al.2003. Over-lake meteorology and estimated bulk heat exchange of Great Slave Lake in 1998 and 1999. Journal of Hydrometeorology, 4(4): 649-659.
[62] Small E E, Sloan L C, Hostetler S, et al.1999. Simulating the water balance of the Aral Sea with a coupled regional climate-lake model. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 104(D6): 6583-6602.
[63] Tsuang B J, Tu C Y, Arpe K.2001. Lake parameterization for climate models. Report No. 316. Hamburg: Max Planck Institute for Meteorology. Hamburg, Germany, 1-72.
[64] Van der Molen M K, Gash J H C, Elbers J A.2004. Sonic anemometer (co)sine response and flux measurement: II. The effect of introducing an angle of attack dependent calibration. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, 122(1-2): 95-109.
[65] Van Dijk A, Moene A F, De Bruin H A R.2004. The principles of surface flux physics: theory, practice and description of the ECPACK library. Internal Report 2004/1. Wageningen: Meteorology and Air Quality Group, Wageningen University. Wageningen, The Netherlands, 1-99.
[66] Vourlitis G L, Filho N P, Hayashi M M S, et al.2002. Seasonal variations in the evapotranspiration of a transitional tropical forest of Mato Grosso, Brazil. Water Resources Research, 38(6): 1094.
[67] Walter K M, Zimov S A, Chanton J P, et al.2006. Methane bubbling from Siberian thaw lakes as a positive feedback to climate warming. Nature, 443(7107): 71-75.
[68] Wang J M, Mitsuta Y.1990. Peculiar downward water vapor flux over Gobi Desert in the daytime. Journal of the Meteorological Society of Japan, 68(3): 399-402.
[69] Wang J M, Mitsuta Y.1992. Evaporation from the desert: some preliminary results of HEIFE. Boundary-Layer Meteorogy, 59(4): 413-418.
[70] Wang N A, Ning K, Li Z L, et al.2016. Holocene high lake-levels and pan-lake period on Badain Jaran Desert. Science China Earth Sciences, 59(8): 1633-1641.
[71] Warner T T.2004. Desert Meteorology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 136.
[72] Webb E K, Pearman G I, Leuning R.1980. Correction of flux measurements for density effects due to heat and water vapor transfer. Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, 106(447): 85-100.
[73] Wever L A, Flanagan L B, Carlson P J.2002. Seasonal and interannual variation in evapotranspiration, energy balance and surface conductance in a northern temperate grassland. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, 112(1): 31-49.
[74] Williams M, Malhi Y, Nobre A D, et al.1998. Seasonal variation in net carbon exchange and evapotranspiration in a Brazilian rain forest: a modelling analysis. Plant, Cell & Environment, 21(10): 953-968.
[75] Xiao W, Liu S D, Wang W, et al.2013. Transfer coefficients of momentum, heat and water vapour in the atmospheric surface layer of a large freshwater lake. Boundary-Layer Meteorology, 148(3): 479-494.
[76] Xu Z W, Liu S M, Li X, et al.2013. Intercomparison of surface energy flux measurement systems used during the HiWATER-MUSOEXE. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmosphere, 118(23): 13140-13157.
[77] Yang X P, Williams M A J.2003. The ion chemistry of lakes and late Holocene desiccation in the Badain Jaran Desert, Inner Mongolia, China. CATENA, 51(1): 45-60.
[78] Yang X P, Ma N N, Dong J F, et al.2010. Recharge to the inter-dune lakes and Holocene climatic changes in the Badain Jaran Desert, western China. Quaternary Research, 73(1): 10-19.
[79] Zhang X C, Gu S, Zhao X Q, et al.2010. Radiation partitioning and its relation to environmental factors above a meadow ecosystem on the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 115(D10): D10106.
[80] Zhu B Q, Yang X P, Liu Z T, et al.2012. Geochemical compositions of soluble salts in aeolian sands from the Taklamakan and Badanjilin deserts in northern China, and their influencing factors and environmental implications. Environmental Earth Sciences, 66(1): 337-353.
[81] Zhu J F, Wang N A, Chen H B, et al.2010. Study on the boundary and the area of Badain Jaran Desert based on remote sensing imagery. Progress in Geography, 29(9): 1087-1094. (in Chinese)
[1] WANG Junjie, SHI Bing, ZHAO Enjin, CHEN Xuguang, YANG Shaopeng. Synergistic effects of multiple driving factors on the runoff variations in the Yellow River Basin, China[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2021, 13(8): 835-857.
[2] Brian COLLINS, Hadi RAMEZANI ETEDALI, Ameneh TAVAKOL, Abbas KAVIANI. Spatiotemporal variations of evapotranspiration and reference crop water requirement over 1957-2016 in Iran based on CRU TS gridded dataset[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2021, 13(8): 858-878.
[3] WANG Yuejian, GU Xinchen, YANG Guang, YAO Junqiang, LIAO Na. Impacts of climate change and human activities on water resources in the Ebinur Lake Basin, Northwest China[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2021, 13(6): 581-598.
[4] ZHANG Tingting, SHAO Yun, GENG Yuyang, GONG Huaze, YANG Lan. A study on historical location and evolution of Lop Nor in China with maps and DEM[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2021, 13(6): 639-652.
[5] Nirmal M DAHAL, XIONG Donghong, Nilhari NEUPANE, Belayneh YIGEZ, ZHANG Baojun, YUAN Yong, Saroj KOIRALA, LIU Lin, FANG Yiping. Spatiotemporal analysis of drought variability based on the standardized precipitation evapotranspiration index in the Koshi River Basin, Nepal[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2021, 13(5): 433-454.
[6] Türkan BAYER ALTIN, Bekir N ALTIN. Response of hydrological drought to meteorological drought in the eastern Mediterranean Basin of Turkey[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2021, 13(5): 470-486.
[7] Ayad M F AL-QURAISHI, Heman A GAZNAYEE, Mattia CRESPI. Drought trend analysis in a semi-arid area of Iraq based on Normalized Difference Vegetation Index, Normalized Difference Water Index and Standardized Precipitation Index[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2021, 13(4): 413-430.
[8] XIANG Longwei, WANG Hansheng, JIANG Liming, SHEN Qiang, Holger STEFFEN, LI Zhen. Glacier mass balance in High Mountain Asia inferred from a GRACE release-6 gravity solution for the period 2002-2016[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2021, 13(3): 224-238.
[9] TENG Zeyu, XIAO Shengchun, CHEN Xiaohong, HAN Chao. Soil bacterial characteristics between surface and subsurface soils along a precipitation gradient in the Alxa Desert, China[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2021, 13(3): 257-273.
[10] HUANG Xiaotao, LUO Geping, CHEN Chunbo, PENG Jian, ZHANG Chujie, ZHOU Huakun, YAO Buqing, MA Zhen, XI Xiaoyan. How precipitation and grazing influence the ecological functions of drought-prone grasslands on the northern slopes of the Tianshan Mountains, China?[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2021, 13(1): 88-97.
[11] Esmail HEYDARI ALAMDARLOO, Hassan KHOSRAVI, Sahar NASABPOUR, Ahmad GHOLAMI. Assessment of drought hazard, vulnerability and risk in Iran using GIS techniques[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2020, 12(6): 984-1000.
[12] YANG Meilin, YU Yang, ZHANG Haiyan, WANG Qian, GAN Miao, YU Ruide. Tree ring based drought variability in Northwest Tajikistan since 1895 AD[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2020, 12(3): 413-422.
[13] XU Lili, YU Guangming, ZHANG Wenjie, TU Zhenfa, TAN Wenxia. Change features of time-series climate variables from 1962 to 2016 in Inner Mongolia, China[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2020, 12(1): 58-72.
[14] YANG Yuling, LI Minfei, MA Jingjing, CHENG Junhui, LIU Yunhua, JIA Hongtao, LI Ning, WU Hongqi, SUN Zongjiu, FAN Yanmin, SHENG Jiandong, JIANG Ping'an. Changes in the relationship between species richness and belowground biomass among grassland types and along environmental gradients in Xinjiang, Northwest China[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2019, 11(6): 855-865.
[15] Yinge LIU, Ninglian WANG, Junhui ZHANG, Lingang WANG. Climate change and its impacts on mountain glaciers during 1960-2017 in western China[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2019, 11(4): 537-550.