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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, Housen
  • Baldocchi, Dennis D
  • Poindexter, Cristina
  • Abraha, Michael
  • Desai, Ankur R
  • Bohrer, Gil
  • Arain, M Altaf
  • Griffis, Timothy
  • Blanken, Peter D
  • O'Halloran, Thomas L
  • Thomas, R Quinn
  • Zhang, Quan
  • Burns, Sean P
  • Frank, John M
  • Christian, Dold
  • Brown, Shannon
  • Black, T Andrew
  • Gough, Christopher M
  • Law, Beverly E
  • Lee, Xuhui
  • Chen, Jiquan
  • Reed, David E
  • Massman, William J
  • Clark, Kenneth
  • Hatfield, Jerry
  • Prueger, John
  • Bracho, Rosvel
  • Baker, John M
  • Martin, Timothy A
  • 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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