Investigator:

Tamara Machac

Advisor: Ron Smith

Description:

Semi-arid regions have been identified as vulnerable to climate change, and surface heat budget studies require accurate heat budget calculations with continuous spatial coverage over variable landscapes.  Our work contributes to the study of surface heat budgets using a combination of Ameriflux flux towers and Landsat-5 TM satellite imagery during the summer months of 2007 in Southern California.

The study specifically seeks to determine what satellites contribute to our ability to estimate surface heat budgets, whether surface heat budgets can provide evidence of an albedo or latent heat feedback, and if we can detect heat budget variations between land cover types.  Findings suggest there is a significant amount of noise and uncertainty between ground and satellite heat budget calculation method comparisons.  The heat budget captures the seasonal signal in the incoming solar radiation and sensible heat flux, however no evidence was found of an albedo or latent heat feedback.  Vegetation cover density has a significant impact on the albedo, net radiation, ground storage flux and sensible heat flux.