Predicting evaporation from lakes across different climatic zones

Accurate prediction of the evaporative fluxes from lakes are crucial to a wide range of hydrological and environmental processes. It plays a central role in shaping aquatic and terrestrial biodiversity and is a key component affecting terrestrial mass and energy fluxes. Evaporation from lakes is influenced by the lake’s characteristics and the climatic parameters. Accurate prediction of the evaporation from lakes is a grand challenge due to the complex coupling between atmospheric conditions and the inherent characteristics of lakes (e.g. depth, radiation attenuation). This commonly leads to modelling efforts relying heavily on satellite observation and adjusting parameters which could potentially mask the true physics controlling the evaporation process from lakes. To address this gap, we model evaporation dynamics and surface fluxes from lakes that are located in different climatic zones all over the world. As an example, the case of lake Mead in the USA is presented below. Our energy-constrained analytical model investigates inherent lake characteristics (e.g., depth) and atmospheric forcing parameters (e.g., wind, radiation, and air temperature) to obtain energy storage of the water body, surface heat fluxes, and vapor exchanges with overlying air. The research will provide a physically-based framework to quantify the extent of evaporative water loss under future climate scenarios and projected global warming.

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