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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Ames, Iowa » National Laboratory for Agriculture and The Environment » Soil, Water & Air Resources Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #261484

Title: Effects of overcast and foggy conditions on transpiration rates of Pinus patula trees along a chronosequence within the cloud belt of the Sierra madre Oriental, central Veracrusz, Mexico

item ALVARADO-BARRIENTOS, M - Iowa State University
item HOLWERDA, F - Iowa State University
item ASBJORNSEN, H - Iowa State University
item Sauer, Thomas
item DAWSON, T - University Of California
item BRUIJNZEEL, L - Vrije University

Submitted to: American Geophysical Union
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/11/2010
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Pinus patula is a native tree species of the montane cloud belt of central Veracruz, Mexico, and one of the most popular species for regional reforestation efforts, both within and outside its natural range of occurrence. Projected regional climate change is likely to cause a rise in the average cloud condensation level by several hundred meters, thereby reducing fog occurrence, whilst overcast conditions are likely to remain similar. To improve our understanding of how water use of P. patula plantations is affected by changes in climatic conditions, we analyzed the response of transpiration rates to fine-scale variations in microclimate, particularly fog immersion and the occurrence of high clouds. We conducted measurements of micrometeorological parameters and transpiration (Et, using the heat ratio sap flow technique) of 15 pine trees representing a range of ages (10-34 years) and sizes (7-60 cm of dbh) during one and a half years (Nov 2008-May 2010), covering two dry seasons and one wet season. Foggy days were defined using daytime “M-of-N” constructs (at least 4 hours with visibility <1000 m within 6 consecutive hourly observations), and days with overcast conditions as having a median daytime visibility > 1000 m and a maximum incoming solar radiation (Sin) < 700 W m-2. Precipitation and leaf wetness data were used to distinguish between (partly) wet and dry canopy conditions. Daily transpiration rates were normalized for climatic conditions using the FAO reference evaporation ETo to allow determination of the proportional contributions to Et suppression by reductions in Sin and VPD relative to leaf wetness. We found that both foggy and overcast conditions without rainfall produced similar % of Et reduction compared to sunny conditions (60-70%). The strongest Et suppression effects occurred when foggy or overcast conditions were associated with rainfall. However, there was just a slight and non significant difference between the average Et/ETo ratio for foggy days with rainfall (i.e. partially wetted canopy) and fog-only days, suggesting that the suppression of Et was mainly caused by reductions in VPD and Sin. Further, reverse daytime sap flow rates (possibly due to water uptake by tree crowns) occurred almost exclusively during periods with fog and rainfall, i.e. zero VPD and wet canopy conditions. We also found significant differences between the response of young and mature pines, as the Et/ETo ratios for both foggy and overcast conditions declined exponentially with tree age/size. The Et suppression effect of high and low clouds (without rainfall) likely does not have a major impact on annual water use by P. patula, because these conditions occur only about 5% of the time during the dry season (when ETo is greatest) and usually in the (late) afternoons when diurnal transpiration is already declining.