SEASONALITY OF WATER AND HEAT FLUXES OVER A TROPICAL FOREST IN EASTERN AMAZONIA
Published Web Locationhttp://www.esajournals.org/doi/abs/10.1890/02-6001
We used the eddy covariance technique from July 2000 to July 2001 to measure the fluxes of sensible heat, water vapor, and CO2 between an old-growth tropical forest in eastern Amazonia and the atmosphere. Precipitation varied seasonally, with a wet season from mid-December 2000 to July 2001 characterized by successive rainy days, wet soil, and, relative to the dry season, cooler temperatures, greater cloudiness, and reduced incoming solar and net radiation. Average evapotranspiration decreased from 3.96 ± 0.65 mm/d during the dry season to 3.18 ± 0.76 mm/d during the wet season, in parallel with decreasing radiation and decreasing water vapor deficit. The average Bowen ratio was 0.17 ± 0.10, indicating that most of the incoming radiation was used for evaporation. The Bowen ratio was relatively low during the early wet season (December–March), as a result of increased evaporative fraction and reduced sensible heat flux. The seasonal decline in Bowen ratio and increase in evaporative fraction coincided with an increase in ecosystem CO2 assimilation capacity, which we attribute to the growth of new leaves. The evaporative fraction did not decline as the dry season progressed, implying that the forest did not become drought stressed. The roots extracted water throughout the top 250 cm of soil, and water redistribution, possibly by hydraulic lift, partially recharged the shallow soil during dry season nights. The lack of drought stress during the dry season was likely a consequence of deep rooting, and possibly vertical water movement, which allowed the trees to maintain access to soil water year round.