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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Partitioning evapotranspiration using diurnal surface temperature variation 1861

Authors
item Moran, Mary
item Keefer, Timothy
item Paige, G. - UNIVERSITY OF WYOMING
item Scott, Russell
item Emmerich, William
item Cosh, Michael
item O'Neill, P. - NASA-GSFC

Submitted to: Fourth Conference on Research and Resource Management in the Southwest Deserts
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: March 1, 2008
Publication Date: May 2, 2008
Citation: Moran, M.S., Keefer, T.O., Paige, G.B., Scott, R.L., Emmerich, W.E., Cosh, M.H., O'Neill, P.E. 2008. Partitioning evapotranspiration using diurnal surface temperature variation. 6th Conference on Research and Resources Mgmt. in the Southwestern Desert - Borders, Boundaries and Time Scales, 2-5 May 2006, Tucson, Az., Proc. Published by USGS Sonoran Desert Research Station. 3 p.

Interpretive Summary: The encroachment of woody plants in grasslands across the Western U.S. will affect soil water availability by altering the contributions of evaporation (E) and transpiration (T) to total evapotranspiration (ET). To study this phenomenon, a network of flux stations is in place to measure ET in grass- and shrub-dominated ecosystems throughout the Western U.S. A method is described and tested here to partition the daily measurements of ET into E and T based on diurnal surface temperature variations of the soil and standard energy balance theory. The difference between the mid-afternoon and pre-dawn soil surface temperature, termed Apparent Thermal Inertia (IA), was used to identify days when E was negligible, and thus, ET=T. The method was tested at Walnut Gulch Experimental Watershed in southeast Arizona based on Bowen ratio estimates of ET and continuous measurements of surface temperature with an infrared thermometer (IRT) from 2004-2005, and a second dataset of Bowen ratio, IRT and stem-flow gage measurements in 2003. Results showed that reasonable estimates of daily T were obtained using infrared thermometer measurements for selected dates. The next step is to derive a theoretical approach to determine transpiration rates on dates when evaporation cannot be assumed to be zero.

Technical Abstract: The encroachment of woody plants in grasslands across the Western U.S. will affect soil water availability by altering the contributions of evaporation (E) and transpiration (T) to total evapotranspiration (ET). To study this phenomenon, a network of flux stations is in place to measure ET in grass- and shrub-dominated ecosystems throughout the Western U.S. A method is described and tested here to partition the daily measurements of ET into E and T based on diurnal surface temperature variations of the soil and standard energy balance theory. The difference between the mid-afternoon and pre-dawn soil surface temperature, termed Apparent Thermal Inertia (IA), was used to identify days when E was negligible, and thus, ET=T. The method was tested at Walnut Gulch Experimental Watershed in southeast Arizona based on Bowen ratio estimates of ET and continuous measurements of surface temperature with an infrared thermometer (IRT) from 2004-2005, and a second dataset of Bowen ratio, IRT and stem-flow gage measurements in 2003. Results showed that reasonable estimates of daily T were obtained using infrared thermometer measurements for selected dates. The next step is to derive a theoretical approach to determine transpiration rates on dates when evaporation cannot be assumed to be zero.

Last Modified: 11/25/2014
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