Theoretical and Applied Climatology

, Volume 137, Issue 3–4, pp 1883–1893 | Cite as

On the simulation of sensible heat flux over the Tibetan Plateau using different thermal roughness length parameterization schemes

  • Shuzhou WangEmail author
  • Yaoming Ma
Original Paper


The surface sensible heat flux is a major component of the heat source over the Tibetan Plateau (TP), and it has experienced significant changes during the past three decades. The mechanism for how these changes occur remains a controversial issue. This study estimates the sensible heat flux and its trend during 1981–2010 using in situ data and the Noah-MP land surface model. Five newly implemented parameterization schemes and one Noah-MP-based scheme for the thermal roughness length (z0h) were evaluated against in situ measurements to show how these schemes influence the simulation of the sensible heat flux. The results show that the sensible heat flux is very sensitive to the z0h parameterization scheme. Although z0h is different from the momentum roughness length (z0m), a simple scheme that neglects the difference between them can result in reasonable daily variations of the sensible heat flux. The scheme proposed by Zeng and Dickinson (1998) (hereafter, Z98) performed well in terms of simulating the annual mean sensible heat flux. We analyzed the climatic features of the sensible heat fluxes that were simulated using the Z98 scheme. The results indicated that the inter-annual variations of the sensible heat flux in the western and central TP were larger than those in the eastern TP. The sensible heat flux over the TP exhibited a significant decreasing trend during 1981–2010. The weakening trends over the western and central TP were higher than those in the eastern TP, and the TP-averaged weakening trend was ~ 2.7 Wm−2 per decade. Different schemes show some uncertainties in annual mean sensible heat flux, but all the schemes result in a decreasing trend.



The forcing dataset used in this study was developed by the Data Assimilation and Modeling Center for Tibetan Multi-spheres, Institute of Tibetan Plateau Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences. Thanks are due to members of the center.

Funding information

This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (41405099, 41661144043), Opening Fund of Key Laboratory of Land Surface Process and Climate Change in Cold and Arid Regions, CAS (Lpcc201206), Opening Fund of Key Laboratory of Tibetan Environmental Changes and Land Surface Processes, CAS (TEL201303), and the Key Research Program of Frontier Sciences of Chinese Academy of Sciences (QYZDJ-SSW-DQC019).


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© Springer-Verlag GmbH Austria, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Meteorological Disasters of Ministry of Education/Joint International Research Laboratory of Climate and Environment Change/Collaborative Innovation Center on Forecast and Evaluation of Meteorological DisastersNanjing University of Information Science and TechnologyNanjingChina
  2. 2.Key Laboratory of Land Surface Process and Climate Change in Cold and Arid RegionsChinese Academy of ScienceLanzhouChina
  3. 3.Key Laboratory of Tibetan Environment Changes and Land Surface ProcessesChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  4. 4.CAS Center for Excellence in Tibetan Plateau Earth SciencesChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  5. 5.University of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina

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