Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Plants, Soils, and Climate

Committee Chair(s)

Lawrence E. Hipps


Lawrence E. Hipps


S.-Y. Simon Wang


Bruce G. Bugbee


William P. Kustas


Vineyards are often grown in semi-arid climates, such as California’s central valley, where water resources can be limited. Summer weather conditions result in high water use by these plants. For wine grapes, a high-value commodity, there are known benefits to fruit quality in irrigating grapevines with slightly below optimum for the plant. Growers would like to be able to precisely irrigate without overusing water or overstressing the vines. This calls for improving ways to monitor vineyard water use by estimating the combined soil evaporation and plant transpiration known as evapotranspiration (ET). A computer model developed by the USDA called the Two-Source Energy Balance model (TSEB) can estimate ET through satellite or aircraft measurements of land surface temperature. The model has been successful for simple, uniform vegetation such as maize, soybeans, and grasslands. The ability of TSEB to estimate vineyard ET has been tested through a field experiment called the Grape Remote sensing, Atmospheric Profile, & Evapotranspiration eXperiment or GRAPEX.

Water is primarily transported away from the ground and plants by turbulent swirls in the wind. Models such as TSEB assume these swirls occur in a consistent manner over a few minutes to hours. Yet, interactions between the wind, the complex vineyard canopy, and heating near the ground can cause them to be episodic or intermittent. There are questions of if and how intermittent water vapor transport might happen in vineyards, and whether the TSEB model will still estimate ET well in such cases. In this study wind, humidity, air temperature, and surface temperatures are used to examine when intermittent behavior occurs, how it affects ET from the vineyard canopy, and how TSEB performs for intermittent versus more steady conditions. Results show that intermittent turbulence significantly alters the microclimate in the vineyard canopy compared to more ideal, steady behavior. The TSEB model was successful but showed reduced ability to estimate ET during times of intermittent behavior. The knowledge gained is an important step toward using TSEB as a powerful tool for sustainable water management, not only in vineyards, but other cash crops with complicated canopies such as orchards, as well as natural ecosystems.



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