Modeling biophysical controls on canopy foliage water 18O enrichment in wheat and corn

School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, USA
Global Change Biology (Impact Factor: 8.04). 04/2012; 18(5):1769 - 1780. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2486.2012.02648.x


Leaf water 18O enrichment is an important factor controlling the H218O, C18OO, and O18O exchanges between the biosphere and the atmosphere. At present, there is limited capacity to explain the enrichment mechanisms in field conditions. In this study, three models of varying complexity were used to simulate the leaf water 18O enrichment at the canopy scale. Comparisons were made among the models and with high-frequency isotopic measurements of ecosystem water pools in wheat and corn. The results show that the steady state assumption was a better approximation for ecosystems with lower canopy resistance, that it is important to consider the effect of leaf water turnover in modeling the enrichment and not necessary to deal with time changes in leaf water content, and that the leaf-scale Péclet effect was incompatible with the big-leaf modeling framework for canopy-air interactions. After turbulent diffusion has been accounted for in an apparent kinetic factor parameterization, the mean 18O composition of the canopy foliage water was a well-behaved property predictable according to the principles established by leaf-scale studies, despite substantial variations in the leaf water enrichment with leaf and canopy positions. In the online supplement we provided a discussion on the observed variability of leaf water 18O composition with leaf and canopy positions and on the procedure for correcting isotopic measurements for organic contamination.

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