2021 Volume 77 Issue 1 Pages 2-23
The eddy covariance (EC) technique-based observation system allows for researchers to determine latent and sensible heat fluxes, which are key components of the surface energy balance. The number of water and energy flux studies in Asia has increased as the number of flux measurement sites and the length of the observation periods have grown. To retrace the footprints of the AsiaFlux network and predict future research directions, we reviewed the progress in water and energy flux studies in Asia from the 1990s to the present day. This included studies on continuous evapotranspiration (ET) and surface energy balance measurements in various ecosystems, from the tropics to the polar regions. We also reviewed comparative experiments between the EC technique and other observation techniques including the use of a lysimeter or scintillometer, data processing techniques, connections between carbon and water fluxes, and multi-site syntheses. This paper discusses three remaining challenges that are hindering the derivation of scientific knowledge for ET and the surface energy balance, namely: the non-closure of the surface energy budget, imperfect compatibility between open- and closed-path gas analyzers, and difficulty in partitioning ET into evaporation and transpiration. If we leverage the advantages of the EC technique (i.e., high sampling rates of ≥ 10 Hz and continuous measurement capabilities), standardized methods for correcting and partitioning can be developed in the near future.