Determination of fetch requirements for accurate Bowen-ratio measurements of latent- and sensible-heat fluxes is more involved than for eddy-correlation measurements because Bowen-ratio sensors are located at two heights, rather than just one. A simple solution to the diffusion equation is used to derive an expression for Bowen-ratio fetch requirements, downwind of a step change in surface fluxes. These requirements are then compared to eddy-correlation fetch requirements based on the same diffusion equation solution. When the eddy-correlation and upper Bowen-ratio sensor heights are equal, and the available energy upwind and downwind of the step change is constant, the Bowen-ratio method requires less fetch than does eddy correlation. Differences in fetch requirements between the two methods are greatest over relatively smooth surfaces. Bowen-ratio fetch can be reduced significantly by lowering the lower sensor, as well as the upper sensor. The Bowen-ratio fetch model was tested using data from a field experiment where multiple Bowen-ratio systems were deployed simultaneously at various fetches and heights above a field of bermudagrass. Initial comparisons were poor, but improved greatly when the model was modified (and operated numerically) to account for the large roughness of the upwind cotton field.
Additional publication details
A theoretically based determination of bowen-ratio fetch requirements