Portable chamber measurements of evapotranspiration (ET) were made at the U.S. Geological Survey's Amargosa Desert Research Site in southern Nevada to help quantify component- and landscape-scale contributions to ET in an arid environment. Evapotranspiration data were collected approximately every 3 months from 2003 to 2006. Chamber measurements of ET were partitioned into bare-soil evaporation and mixed-species transpiration components. The component-scale ET fluxes from native shrubs typically surpassed those from bare soil by as much as a factor of four. Component-scale ET fluxes were extrapolated to landscape-scale ET using a one-layer, multi-component canopy model. Landscape-scale ET fluxes predominantly were controlled by bare-soil evaporation. Bare soil covered 94 percent of the landscape on average and contributed about 70 percent of the landscape-scale vapor flux. Creosote bush, an evergreen shrub, accounted for about 90 percent of transpiration on average due to its dominance across the landscape (80 percent of the 6 percent shrub cover) and evergreen character.
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USGS Numbered Series
Portable Chamber Measurements of Evapotranspiration at the Amargosa Desert Research Site near Beatty, Nye County, Nevada, 2003-06