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Water & Energy Cycles

Documenting the global water and energy cycle through observations is fundamental to achieve the goals of GEWEX and NASA’s Earth Science Research Strategy to obtain a quantitative description of the variations in the global energy and water cycle. Such documentation is needed to enable NASA and its supported NEWS investigators to acquire enhanced knowledge of Earth’s climate, including characterizing the memories, pathways and feedbacks between key water, energy and biogeochemical cycles. Amongst the various climate cycle variables, surface evapotranspiration (ET) or latent heat flux is often considered the climate linchpin variable because it plays a central role in the water, energy and carbon cycles, and is common to all three. It is unique in providing the link between the energy and water budgets at the land surface; the link between the terrestrial water and carbon cycle through vegetation transpiration, plays a central role in coupling the land and ocean surfaces to the atmosphere, and operates over fast (diurnal) and slow (seasonal) time scales. Much of our understanding of the complex feedback mechanisms between the Earth surface and the surrounding atmosphere is focused on quantifying this process, as well as to determine the biological environment and its water use efficiency. The GEWEX Radiation Panel (GRP), in collaboration with the GEWEX Land Surface Study (GLASS), has launched an activity called LandFlux with the goal of fostering the needed capabilities to produce and diagnose a global, multi-decadal surface turbulent flux data product. The GRP has already supported the development of an ocean surface heat flux activity (SeaFlux). A LandFlux product, coordinated with the SeaFlux product would contribute to the efforts of the NASA NEWS team in their collective effort to further our understanding of the global energy and water cycles.

Project PI: Eric Wood/Princeton University

E415 Engineering Quad ,The Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering Princeton, NJ 08544

Email: efwood@princeton.edu

Phone: (609)258-4675 

http://www.princeton.edu/cee/people/display_person/?netid=efwood

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Started: Aug 10, 2010

Last Activity: Dec 16, 2010

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