Investigating the mechanisms responsible for the lack of surface energy balance closure in a central Amazonian tropical rainforest

Tobias Gerken, Benjamin L. Ruddell, Jose D. Fuentes, Alessandro Araújo, Nathaniel A. Brunsell, Jair Maia, Antonio Manzi, Juliane Mercer, Rosa Nascimento dos Santos, Celso von Randow, Paul C. Stoy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


This work investigates the diurnal and seasonal behavior of the energy balance residual (E) that results from the observed difference between available energy and the turbulent fluxes of sensible heat (H) and latent heat (LE) at the FLUXNET BR-Ma2 site located in the Brazilian central Amazon rainforest. The behavior of E is analyzed by extending the eddy covariance averaging length from 30 min to 4 h and by applying an Information Flow Dynamical Process Network to diagnose processes and conditions affecting E across different seasons. Results show that the seasonal turbulent flux dynamics and the Bowen ratio are primarily driven by net radiation (Rn), with substantial sub-seasonal variability. The Bowen ratio increased from 0.25 in April to 0.4 at the end of September. Extension of the averaging length from 0.5 (94.6% closure) to 4 h and thus inclusion of longer timescale eddies and mesoscale processes closes the energy balance and lead to an increase in the Bowen ratio, thus highlighting the importance of additional H to E. Information flow analysis reveals that the components of the energy balance explain between 25 and 40% of the total Shannon entropy with higher values during the wet season than the dry season. Dry season information flow from the buoyancy flux to E are 30–50% larger than that from H, indicating the potential importance of buoyancy fluxes to closing E. While the low closure highlights additional sources not captured in the flux data and random measurement errors contributing to E, the findings of the information flow and averaging length analysis are consistent with the impact of mesoscale circulations, which tend to transport more H than LE, on the lack of closure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)92-103
Number of pages12
JournalAgricultural and Forest Meteorology
StatePublished - May 28 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Eddy covariance
  • Information flow
  • Latent heat flux
  • Sensible heat flux
  • Tropical rainforest

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Forestry
  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Atmospheric Science


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