Instrument : Energy Balance Bowen Ratio Station (EBBR)

Instrument Categories
Surface/Subsurface Properties

Picture of the Energy Balance Bowen Ratio (EBBR)
Picture of the Energy Balance Bowen Ratio (EBBR)

General Overview

The Energy Balance Bowen Ratio (EBBR) system produces 30-min estimates of the vertical fluxes of sensible and latent heat at the local surface. Flux estimates are calculated from observations of net radiation, soil surface heat flux, and the vertical gradients of temperature and relative humidity. Meteorological data collected by the EBBR are used to calculate bulk aerodynamic fluxes, which are used in the Bulk Aerodynamic Technique (BA) EBBR value-added product (VAP) to replace sunrise and sunset spikes in the flux data. A unique aspect of the system is the automatic exchange mechanism (AEM), which helps to reduce errors from instrument offset drift.

Guidance on Using EBBR Surface Fluxes in Atmospheric Models

Background. The extent of the SGP domain was originally established to take advantage of the local seasonal variation (hot, dry summers to moderately cold, wet winters), the climatic variation across the site (significant north-south gradient of temperature and east-west gradient of humidity and soil moisture), and the proximity of the densely instrumented Oklahoma Mesonet.

The SGP site's Extended Facilities (EFs) were intentionally chosen to provide surface measurements representative of the dominant land-use types common to the geographic area: cropland, pastureland (grassland), and wooded areas. EBBR stations were placed in the middle of grasslands (the species mix of which varies from EF to EF) to take advantage of the fairly short wind fetch required for the EBBR flux measurements. Conversely, the ECOR systems were placed at the north edge of primarily cropland because of the fairly long wind fetch required for the ECOR flux measurements (and prevailing southerly wind directions) and so that they would not interfere with farming practices. At one site, instruments are located on a platform in a forest canopy.

Variable land-uses throughout the SGP site result in differences in surface flux measurements from one side of the site to the other (both north-south and east-west). Therefore, a straight average of the surface fluxes across the entire SGP site can't properly describe the variation in surface fluxes across the site.

Recommendation. The recommended approach for using the surfaces fluxes from the ECOR and EBBR is to divide the SGP site into northwest, northeast, southwest, and southeast climatological quadrants, determine the land-use percentage of each vegetation surface in each quadrant, and then average the flux for each land-use as measured by the ECOR and EBBR systems within each quadrant. While the average flux in the four quadrants may be quite different, the average of the four quadrant averages may provide a more realistic average for the entire site than a simple straight average of all EF fluxes.

The following are some details concerning the ECOR and EBBR locations, land-use type (vegetation), wind direction dependencies of the surface fluxes, uncertainties in the measurements, energy balance closure considerations, and potential data problems. Vegetation type and height is recorded every two weeks in the SGP OMIS database, which can be accessed after you obtain an account from SGP Site Operations.

More detail is available in the
EBBR Handbook

  1. Half-hour Flux Measurements:

    • sensible heat (H) and latent heat (LE)
  2. Locations (ARM SGP Extended Facilities):

    • 2, 4, 7, 8, 9, 12, 13, 15, 18, 19, 20, 22, 26, 27
    • (note: system at 27 was at 25 until 04/08/2002)
  3. Vegetation Viewed for Wind Directions:
    (data for directions not shown is not representative of a single vegetation surface); refer to the SGP Site Operations OMIS vegetation reports for vegetation type and height.

    • EBBR (In middle of grass field at all EFs):

      • EF2: 71-137, 223-289
      • EF4: 0-158, 202-360
      • EF7: 0-244, 296-360
      • EF8: 0-224, 314-360
      • EF9: 0-360
      • EF12: 0-360
      • EF13: 0-52, 142-194, 328-360
      • EF15: 133-360
      • EF18: 138-325
      • EF19: 0-133, 151-360
      • EF20: 0-230, 310-360
      • EF22: 0-49, 139-360
      • EF25: 30-300
      • EF26: 0-33, 243-360
      • EF27: 20-156
  4. Uncertainties of Fluxes from Instrument Limitations:

    • H (10%), LE (10%)
  5. Energy Balance Closure:

    • 100% (energy balance closure is forced by the algorithms)
  6. Potential Data Problems Under the Following Conditions:

    1. Bowen ratio of -0.45 to -1.60 indicates possible incorrect flux data
    2. Energy budget (H+LE) is forced to closure and does not account for:
      1. canopy energy storage
      2. non-steady atmospheric conditions
      3. horizontal or vertical advection
    3. Precipitation, fog, and dew (frost) on or in net radiometer
    4. Wind speed less than 1.5 m/s
    5. Sudden shifts in wind direction during a half hour
    6. Soil sensors pulled from the ground or chewed by animals
    7. Non-functioning AEM
    8. Loosened electronic connections

Output Value-Added Products

This instrument is an input to the following value-added products, which provide improved measurements or derived quantities.

  • 30baebbr : EBBR: bulk aerodynamic estimates of sensible & latent heat fluxes, 30-min

Output Datastreams

  • 30ebbr : Energy Balance Bowen Ratio (EBBR) station: surf. heat flux and related data, 30-min
  • 5ebbr : Energy Balance Bowen Ratio(EBBR) station: surf. Met & soil data for heat flux, 5-min

Primary Measurements

The following measurements are those considered scientifically relevant.


Southern Great Plains
SGPE2Browse DataHillsboro, KS (Extended)
SGPE4Browse DataPlevna, KS
SGPE7Browse DataElk Falls, KS
SGPE8Browse DataColdwater, KS
SGPE9Browse DataAshton, KS
SGPE12Browse DataPawhuska, OK
SGPE13Browse DataLamont, OK (Extended)
SGPE15Browse DataRingwood, OK
SGPE18Browse DataMorris, OK (Extended)
SGPE19Browse DataEl Reno, OK
SGPE20Browse DataMeeker, OK (Extended)
SGPE22Browse DataCordell, OK
SGPE25Browse DataSeminole, OK
SGPE26Browse DataCement, OK
SGPE27Browse DataEarlsboro, OK
SGPE32Browse DataMedford, OK
SGPE34Browse DataMaple City, KS
SGPE35Browse DataTryon, OK
SGPE36Browse DataMarshall, OK


David Cook
(630) 252-5840

Brian Ermold
(509) 375-2277

Edwin Campos