Articles | Volume 14, issue 18
Research article
20 Sep 2017
Research article |  | 20 Sep 2017

Water, Energy, and Carbon with Artificial Neural Networks (WECANN): a statistically based estimate of global surface turbulent fluxes and gross primary productivity using solar-induced fluorescence

Seyed Hamed Alemohammad, Bin Fang, Alexandra G. Konings, Filipe Aires, Julia K. Green, Jana Kolassa, Diego Miralles, Catherine Prigent, and Pierre Gentine

Abstract. A new global estimate of surface turbulent fluxes, latent heat flux (LE) and sensible heat flux (H), and gross primary production (GPP) is developed using a machine learning approach informed by novel remotely sensed solar-induced fluorescence (SIF) and other radiative and meteorological variables. This is the first study to jointly retrieve LE, H, and GPP using SIF observations. The approach uses an artificial neural network (ANN) with a target dataset generated from three independent data sources, weighted based on a triple collocation (TC) algorithm. The new retrieval, named Water, Energy, and Carbon with Artificial Neural Networks (WECANN), provides estimates of LE, H, and GPP from 2007 to 2015 at 1°  ×  1° spatial resolution and at monthly time resolution. The quality of ANN training is assessed using the target data, and the WECANN retrievals are evaluated using eddy covariance tower estimates from the FLUXNET network across various climates and conditions. When compared to eddy covariance estimates, WECANN typically outperforms other products, particularly for sensible and latent heat fluxes. Analyzing WECANN retrievals across three extreme drought and heat wave events demonstrates the capability of the retrievals to capture the extent of these events. Uncertainty estimates of the retrievals are analyzed and the interannual variability in average global and regional fluxes shows the impact of distinct climatic events – such as the 2015 El Niño – on surface turbulent fluxes and GPP.

Short summary
Water, Energy, and Carbon with Artificial Neural Networks (WECANN) is a statistically based estimate of global surface latent and sensible heat fluxes and gross primary productivity. The retrieval uses six remotely sensed observations as input, including the solar-induced fluorescence. WECANN provides estimates on a 1° × 1° geographic grid and on a monthly time scale and outperforms other global products in capturing the seasonality of the fluxes when compared to eddy covariance tower data.
Final-revised paper