Land Cover Control on the Drivers of Evaporation and Sensible Heat Fluxes: An Observation-Based Synthesis for the Netherlands

Femke A. Jansen, Harro J. Jongen, Cor M.J. Jacobs, Fred C. Bosveld, Alexander J.V. Buzacott, Bert G. Heusinkveld, Bart Kruijt, Michiel van der Molen, Remko Uijlenhoet, More Authors

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Land cover controls the land-atmosphere exchange of water and energy through the partitioning of solar energy into latent and sensible heat. Observations over all land cover types at the regional scale are required to study these turbulent flux dynamics over a landscape. Here, we aim to study how the control of daily and midday latent and sensible heat fluxes over different land cover types is distributed along three axes: energy availability, water availability and exchange efficiency. To this end, observations from 19 eddy covariance flux tower sites in the Netherlands, covering six different land cover types located within the same climatic zone, were used in a regression analysis to explain the observed dynamics and find the principle drivers. The resulting relative position of these sites along the three axes suggests that land cover partly explains the variance of daily and midday turbulent fluxes. We found that evaporation dynamics from grassland, peatland swamp and cropland sites could mostly be explained by energy availability. Forest evaporation can mainly be explained by water availability, urban evaporation by water availability and exchange efficiency, and open water evaporation can almost entirely be explained by exchange efficiency. We found that the sensible heat flux is less sensitive to land cover type. This demonstrates that the land-atmosphere interface plays an active role in the shedding of sensible heat. Our results contribute to a better understanding of the dynamics of evaporation over different land cover types and may help to optimize, and potentially simplify, models to predict evaporation.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2022WR034361
Number of pages24
JournalWater Resources Research
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • data-driven analysis
  • eddy covariance
  • evaporation
  • land cover
  • sensible heat flux
  • The Netherlands


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