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Agronomy Journal Abstract -

Carbon Dioxide Effects on Crop Energy Balance: Testing ecosys with a Free-Air CO2 Enrichment (FACE) Experiment


This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 87 No. 3, p. 446-457
    Received: June 6, 1994

    * Corresponding author(s):
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  1. Robert F. Grant ,
  2. Bruce A. Kimball,
  3. Paul J. Pinter Jr.,
  4. Gerard W. Wall,
  5. Richard L. Garcia,
  6. Robert L. La Morte and
  7. Douglas J. Hunsaker
  1. Dep. of Soil Science, Univ. of Alberta, , Edmonton, AB T6G 2E3, Canada



Elevated CO2 concentrations (Ce) have been observed to decrease short-term plant water use under controlled conditions by increasing stomatal resistance. The extent to which this decrease occurs over a growing season in the field is uncertain, however, because stomatal resistance is only one of many mechanisms that control water use. In this study, we tested the ecosystem simulation model ecosys, which reproduces an hourly energy balance through soil-vegetation systems under defined atmospheric boundary conditions, using energy exchange data measured as part of the Free-Air CO2 Enrichment (FACE) experiment at Ce = 550 vs. 370 µmol mol−1. The model reproduced reductions in measured upward latent heat fluxes that varied from −10 to +40 W m−2, depending on atmospheric conditions. In the model, the primary effect of elevated Ce on latent heat fluxes was through canopy stomatal conductance. This effect was largely offset by secondary effects through canopy temperature that enabled the model to reproduce measured changes in sensible heat fluxes. The total effect simulated by ecosys of Ce = 550 vs. 370 µmol mol−1 on evapotranspiration during the entire FACE experiment was a reduction of 7%. This reduction compares with one of 11% estimated from accumulated daily measurements of latent heat flux. In the model, the different effects of Ce on plant water use depend on atmosphere and soil boundary conditions, and are highly dynamic. Consequently the simulated Ce-water use relationship is likely to be sitespecific. The use of models such as ecosys allows site-specific boundary conditions to be considered in the study of Ce effects on plant growth and water use.

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