Sensitivity of stand transpiration to wind velocity in a mixed broadleaved deciduous forest
Wind velocity (U) within and above forest canopies can alter the coupling between the vapor-saturated sub-stomatal airspace and the drier atmosphere aloft, thereby influencing transpiration rates. In practice, however, the actual increase in transpiration with increasing U depends on the aerodynamic resistance (RA) to vapor transfer compared to canopy resistance to water vapor flux out of leaves (RC, dominated by stomatal resistance, Rstom), and the rate at which RA decreases with increasing U. We investigated the effect of U on transpiration at the canopy scale using filtered meteorological data and sap flux measurements gathered from six diverse species of a mature broadleaved deciduous forest. Only under high light conditions, stand transpiration (EC) increased slightly (6.5%) with increasing U ranging from ∼0.7 to ∼4.7 m s−1. Under other conditions, sap flux density (Js) and EC responded weakly or did not change with U. RA, estimated from Monin–Obukhov similarity theory, decreased with increasing U, but this decline was offset by increasing RC, estimated from a rearranged Penman–Monteith equation, due to a concurrent increase in vapor pressure deficit (D). The increase of RC with D over the observed range of U was consistent with increased Rstom by ∼40% based on hydraulic theory. Except for very rare half-hourly values, the proportion of RA to total resistance (RT) remained <15% over the observed range of conditions. These results suggest that in similar forests and conditions, the direct effect of U reducing RA and thus increasing transpiration is negligible. However, the observed U–D relationship and its effect on Rstom must be considered when modeling canopy photosynthesis.