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Seasonal Variation in Canopy Aerodynamics and the Sensitivity of Transpiration Estimates to Wind Velocity in Broadleaved Deciduous Species

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  • 1 Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, Colorado
  • | 2 Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado
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Abstract

Characterization of seasonal dynamics in wind speed attenuation within a plant canopy α is necessary for modeling leaf boundary layer conductance , canopy–atmosphere coupling Ω, and transpiration at multiple scales. The goals of this study were to characterize seasonal variation in α in four tree species with canopy wind profiles and a canopy-structure model, to quantify the impact of α on estimates of and Ω, and to determine the influence of variable wind speed on transpiration estimates from a biophysical model [Multi-Array Evaporation Stand Tree Radiation Assemblage (MAESTRA)]. Among species, α varied significantly with above-canopy wind speed and seasonal canopy development. At the mean above-canopy wind speed (1.5 m s−1), α could be predicted using a linear model with leaf area index as the input variable (coefficient of determination R2 = 0.78). However, the canopy-structure model yielded improved predictions (R2 = 0.92) by including canopy height and leaf width. By midseason, increasing canopy leaf area and α resulted in lower within-canopy wind speeds, a decrease in by 20%–50%, and a peak in Ω. Testing a discrete increase in wind speed (0.6–2.4 m s−1; seasonal mean plus/minus one standard deviation) had variable influence on transpiration estimates (from −30% to +20%), which correlated strongly with vapor pressure deficit (R2 = 0.83). Given the importance of α in accurate representation of , Ω, and transpiration, it is concluded that α needs to be given special attention in plant canopies that undergo substantial seasonal changes, especially densely foliated canopies (i.e., leaf area index >1) and in areas with lower native wind speeds (i.e., <2 m s−1).

Corresponding author e-mail: D. M. Barnard, david.m.barnard@colorado.edu

Abstract

Characterization of seasonal dynamics in wind speed attenuation within a plant canopy α is necessary for modeling leaf boundary layer conductance , canopy–atmosphere coupling Ω, and transpiration at multiple scales. The goals of this study were to characterize seasonal variation in α in four tree species with canopy wind profiles and a canopy-structure model, to quantify the impact of α on estimates of and Ω, and to determine the influence of variable wind speed on transpiration estimates from a biophysical model [Multi-Array Evaporation Stand Tree Radiation Assemblage (MAESTRA)]. Among species, α varied significantly with above-canopy wind speed and seasonal canopy development. At the mean above-canopy wind speed (1.5 m s−1), α could be predicted using a linear model with leaf area index as the input variable (coefficient of determination R2 = 0.78). However, the canopy-structure model yielded improved predictions (R2 = 0.92) by including canopy height and leaf width. By midseason, increasing canopy leaf area and α resulted in lower within-canopy wind speeds, a decrease in by 20%–50%, and a peak in Ω. Testing a discrete increase in wind speed (0.6–2.4 m s−1; seasonal mean plus/minus one standard deviation) had variable influence on transpiration estimates (from −30% to +20%), which correlated strongly with vapor pressure deficit (R2 = 0.83). Given the importance of α in accurate representation of , Ω, and transpiration, it is concluded that α needs to be given special attention in plant canopies that undergo substantial seasonal changes, especially densely foliated canopies (i.e., leaf area index >1) and in areas with lower native wind speeds (i.e., <2 m s−1).

Corresponding author e-mail: D. M. Barnard, david.m.barnard@colorado.edu
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