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Alan G. Barr and G. S. Strong


Upper-air budget methods can be used to estimate the surface sensible and latent heat flux densities on a regional scale. This study assesses the application of radiosonde-based budget methods above homogeneous cropland. Serial daytime soundings were released from Kenaston and Saskatoon, Canada, on fair-weather days between 24 June and 31 July 1991.

Two independent methods were used to establish ground truth: surface-layer Bowen ratio-energy balance and Priestley-Taylor. This study was the fist to extend the surface-layer Bowen ratio method to conventional upper-air soundings. The two ground-truth methods agreed to within 20% at both locations and gave mean daytime Bowen ratios of 0.33.

The upper-air budget surface flux estimates agreed most consistently with ground truth when the budget was integrated over the atmospheric boundary layer (BL) and used parameterized entrainment with a value for the entrainment parameter A R of 0.4. The BL budget with A R of 0.4 closed the daytime surface energy balance to within 4% at Kenaston and 7% at Saskatoon and gave a mean estimate for the Bowen ratio that agreed to within 20% of the mean ground-truth estimates. However, the BL budget estimates for 2-3-h periods were quite variable, and it was necessary to average the budget estimates over periods of 12 days or longer to produce credible values. Random sampling errors and uncertainty in horizontal advection were partly responsible for the high variability of the budget estimates, but these terms averaged to zero over extended periods. More seriously, the BL budget estimates for the surface latent heat flux were quite sensitive to the method for estimating entrainment. Because the authors were unable to establish a preferred entrainment estimate a priori, the BL budget estimates for the surface latent heat flux were considered to be unreliable. Further study is needed to develop a reliable and independent method for specifying the value for A R.

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Shusen Wang, Yan Yang, Alexander P. Trishchenko, Alan G. Barr, T. A. Black, and Harry McCaughey


Humidity of air is a key environmental variable in controlling the stomatal conductance (g) of plant leaves. The stomatal conductance–humidity relationships employed in the Ball–Woodrow–Berry (BWB) model and the Leuning model have been widely used in the last decade. Results of independent evaluations of the two models vary greatly. In this study, the authors develop a new diagnostic parameter that is based on canopy water vapor and CO2 fluxes to assess the response of canopy g to humidity. Using eddy-covariance flux measurements at three boreal forest sites in Canada, they critically examine the performance of the BWB and the Leuning models. The results show that the BWB model, which employs a linear relationship between g and relative humidity (hs), leads to large underestimates of g when the air is wet. The Leuning model, which employs a nonlinear function of water vapor pressure deficit (Ds), reduced this bias, but it still could not adequately capture the significant increase of g under the wet conditions. New models are proposed to improve the prediction of canopy g to humidity. The best performance was obtained by the model that employs a power function of Ds, followed by the model that employs a power function of relative humidity deficit (1 − hs). The results also indicate that models based on water vapor pressure deficit generally performed better than those based on relative humidity. This is consistent with the hypothesis that the stomatal aperture responds to leaf water loss because water vapor pressure deficit rather than relative humidity directly affects the transpiration rate of canopy leaves.

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