A simple field validation of daily transpiration derived from sapflow using a porometer and minimal meteorological data
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Heat-pulse techniques are routinely used to estimate transpiration from canopies of woody plants typically without any local calibration, mainly because of the difficulty of doing so in the field and, frequently, lack of detailed weather data. This is despite concerns that the techniques may produce erroneous values under certain conditions, such as when evaporative demand is high. In this study, we used a micrometeorological approach to validate transpiration from irrigated olives deduced from heat-pulse technique by ascertaining precise values for the parameters that are critical for converting heat-pulse velocity to sapflow. The micrometeorological approach involved limited data on stomatal conductance (gs), obtained hourly with a porometer on four contrasting days, and was used to calibrate a simple model for predicting conductance. Predicted stomatal conductance (gsm) agreed well with that measured, and when both were used to calculate hourly transpiration, they produced values that were within 10% of each other. This was despite brief underestimations of transpiration based on gsm (Tm) in the early hours of the day that arose from poor determination of incident radiation at this time. We then used Tm to iteratively set the values for the various parameters, including the time-out value that accounts for zero-flow conditions, needed to convert heat-pulse velocity to sapflow, for the four days. The best fit between Tm and transpiration from sapflow (Ts) was obtained with time-out value set to 120 s. All heat-pulse velocity data were therefore analysed with this time-out value to obtain sapflow and, hence, transpiration (Ts). Comparison of Tm and Ts for the whole season showed that the former tended to produce higher values on certain days when vapour pressure deficit (D) was high in summer (December–February). While Ts occasionally produced larger values than Tm under the mild conditions of autumn (March–April). Totals of the daily transpiration during the 190-day period were within 10% of each other.
KeywordsHeat-pulse technique Irrigation Olives Sapflow Stomatal conductance Transpiration
We thank Mr Stephen Mylius for his technical support in the field, and Mr Con Kratopolous for the use of his grove in this project. The project was funded by the Rural Industries Research and Development Cooperation (RIRDC), Australia.
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