Surface Energy Budget Network
The land surface heats up or cools down as it tends towards an equilibrium between the net radiative and convective/conductive heat fluxes. This quasi-equilibrium is known as the surface energy balance (SEB). As natural landscapes are a patchwork quilt of various land-use types, they typically heat or cool at different rates in response to the radiative forcing. These changes in heating/cooling can induce subtle differences in surface pressure which on a larger scale can amplify a synoptic flow field, but on a smaller scale can lead to areas of localized convergence and convective initiation leading to a localized precipitation event. For many years, ARL has operated a small-scale surface energy budget network (SEBN) across the US. The SEBN is a consolidation of several independent but closely related observing systems into a single, cost-effective and efficient network. SEBN seeks to explain why climate variables (e.g., air temperature, precipitation) have changed. Data, which includes the input of moisture and heat to the atmosphere, are used by NOAA scientists to provide detailed examination of the land-surface feedbacks and related radiative processes that can drive regional climate and to improve weather predictions. Currently, NOAA has three SEBN stations in operation to cover representative eco-regions (forests, grasslands, crops, etc) in the U.S.