Latent and sensible heat fluxes from lake water surfaces

The latent heat flux and evaporation from lakes are predicted to increase in a warming climate. This model script (written in Matlab) estimates latent and sensible heat fluxes from lake water surfaces.

It uses air temperature, water surface temperature, air pressure, relative humidity, wind speed and sensor height for wind speed as input data. The model accounts for atmospheric stability of the surface boundary layer through the stability functions and includes the effects of changes in the roughness length of vapor and the roughness length of temperature. The roughness length of momentum accounts for smooth flow, and air density is adjusted for air temperature and air pressure. The model can be used to track changes in surface heat fluxes at any time scale.

Download the code (TXT 12 KB)

The methods were published in full in Verburg, P., and J.P. Antenucci. 2010. J. Geophys. Res. 115, D11109, doi:10.1029/2009JD012839.

If you use the code in a publication then please indicate this in the paper and cite Verburg and Antenucci (2010). An email to let us know that you used the code will be appreciated


Blue Lake (Rotomairewhenua) is a sub-alpine lake within the Nelson Lakes National Park with exceptional optical purity. NIWA has been studying the remarkable clarity of this water body since 2010, which has been measured at a horisontal under-water range of up to 80m at times. This makes it the most visually clear freshwater yet reported. [Marty Flanagan]