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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Temporal Dynamics of Aerodynamic Canopy Height Derived From Eddy Covariance Momentum Flux Data Across North American Flux Networks

  • Author(s): Chu, H
  • Baldocchi, DD
  • Poindexter, C
  • Abraha, M
  • Desai, AR
  • Bohrer, G
  • Arain, MA
  • Griffis, T
  • Blanken, PD
  • O'Halloran, TL
  • Thomas, RQ
  • Zhang, Q
  • Burns, SP
  • Frank, JM
  • Christian, D
  • Brown, S
  • Black, TA
  • Gough, CM
  • Law, BE
  • Lee, X
  • Chen, J
  • Reed, DE
  • Massman, WJ
  • Clark, K
  • Hatfield, J
  • Prueger, J
  • Bracho, R
  • Baker, JM
  • Martin, TA
  • et al.

©2018. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved. Aerodynamic canopy height (ha) is the effective height of vegetation canopy for its influence on atmospheric fluxes and is a key parameter of surface-atmosphere coupling. However, methods to estimate ha from data are limited. This synthesis evaluates the applicability and robustness of the calculation of ha from eddy covariance momentum-flux data. At 69 forest sites, annual ha robustly predicted site-to-site and year-to-year differences in canopy heights (R2 = 0.88, 111 site-years). At 23 cropland/grassland sites, weekly ha successfully captured the dynamics of vegetation canopies over growing seasons (R2 > 0.70 in 74 site-years). Our results demonstrate the potential of flux-derived ha determination for tracking the seasonal, interannual, and/or decadal dynamics of vegetation canopies including growth, harvest, land use change, and disturbance. The large-scale and time-varying ha derived from flux networks worldwide provides a new benchmark for regional and global Earth system models and satellite remote sensing of canopy structure.

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