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In spite of the fact that grasslands account for about 40% of the ice-free global terrestrial land cover, their contribution to the surface exchanges of energy and water in local and regional scale is so far uncertain. In this study, the sensitivity of evapotranspiration (ET) and other energy fluxes to wetness variables, namely the volumetric Soil Water Content (SWC) and Antecedent Precipitation Index (API), over a non-irrigated grass site in Central Florida, USA (28.049 N, 81.400 W) were investigated. Eddy correlation and soil water content measurements were taken by USGS (U.S. Geological Survey) at the grass study site, within 100 m of a SFWMD (South Florida Water Management District) weather station. The soil is composed of fine sands and it is mainly covered by Paspalum notatum (bahia grass). Variable soil wetness conditions with API bounds of about 2 to 160 mm and water table levels of 0.03 to 1.22 m below ground surface, respectively, were observed throughout the year 2004. The Bowen ratio exhibited an average of 1 and values larger than 2 during few dry days. The daytime average ET was classified into two stages, first stage (energy-limited) and second stage (water- limited) based on the water availability. The critical values of API and SWC were found to be about 56 mm and 0.17 respectively, with the second one being approximately 33% of the SWC at saturation. The ET values estimated by the simple Priestley-Taylor (PT) method were compared to the actual values. The PT coefficient varied from a low bound of approximately 0.4 to a peak of 1.21. Simple relationships for the PT empirical factor were employed in terms of SWC and API to improve the accuracy of the second stage observations. The results of the ET parameterizations closely match eddy-covariance flux values on daily and longer time steps.
Additional Publication Details
Evapotranspiration parameterizations at a grass site in Florida, USA
EOS, Transactions of the American Geophysical Union