Evaporation of intercepted rainfall from isolated evergreen oak trees: Do the crowns behave as wet bulbs?

F.L. Pereira, J.H.C. Gash, J.S. David, F, Valente

    Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


    A new approach is suggested for estimating evaporation of intercepted rainfall from single trees in sparse forests. It is shown that, theoretically, the surface temperature of a wet tree crown will depend on the available energy and windspeed. But for a fully saturated canopy under rainy conditions, surface temperature will approach the wet bulb temperature when available energy tends to zero. This was confirmed experimentally from measurements of the radiation balance, aerodynamic conductance for water vapour and surface temperature on an isolated tree crown. Net radiation over a virtual cylindrical surface, enclosing the tree crown, was monitored by a set of radiometers positioned around that surface. Aerodynamic conductance for the tree crown was derived by scaling up measurements of leaf boundary layer conductance using the heated leaf replica method. Thermocouples were used to measure the average leaf surface temperature. Results showed that a fully wet single tree crown behaves like a wet bulb, allowing evaporation of intercepted rainfall to be estimated by a simple diffusion equation for water vapour, which is not restricted by the assumptions of one-dimensional transfer models usually used at the stand scale. Using this approach, mean evaporation rate from wet, saturated tree crowns was 0.27 or 0.30 mm h
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)667-679
    JournalAgricultural and Forest Meteorology
    Publication statusPublished - 2009


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