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This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 76 No. 6, p. 867-871
    Received: Jan 27, 1984

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Microclimate of a Rainfall Shelter1

  1. W. A. Dugas and
  2. D. R. Upchurch2



To induce water stress on crops grown in areas where extended periods without precipitation during the growing season are infrequent, rainfall shelters are increasingly being used. Shelters are moved over plots during or previous to precipitation. The microclimatic effects of a large (18 ✕ 48 m) fiberglass shelter near Temple, TX were investigated. Air temperature, solar radiation, wind speed, and relative humidity measurements were made throughout two growing seasons to determine the effect of the shelter on the canopy microclimate (relative to the microclimate outside the shelter) when the shelter was off and over the plots. When the shelter was over the plots, the effects upon wind speed and radiation, which were dected most, were consistent; radiation was reduced from 30 to 40% and, because of shelter design, wind speed was reduced to nearly zero. Generally, air temperature and humidity effects were dependent upon temperature and radiation levels. Air temperature differentials greater than 6°C developed within an hour after movement of the shelter over the plots, while radiation and wind effects occurred instantaneously. When off the plots, the shelter's microclimatic effects were not detectable. Under certain conditions, however, the shelter may significantly deet the microclimate. Therefore, researchers using shelters need to investigate the microclimate under a shelter for proper interpretation of plant responses to the environment.

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