Evapotranspiration of an Abandoned Grassland in the Italian Alps: Influence of Local Topography, Intra- and Inter-Annual Variability and Environmental Drivers

2022-06-16 | journal article; research paper. A publication with affiliation to the University of Göttingen.

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​Evapotranspiration of an Abandoned Grassland in the Italian Alps: Influence of Local Topography, Intra- and Inter-Annual Variability and Environmental Drivers​
Gisolo, D.; Bevilacqua, I.; Ramshorst, J. van ; Knohl, A. ; Siebicke, L.; Previati, M. & Canone, D. et al.​ (2022) 
Atmosphere13(6) art. 977​.​ DOI: https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos13060977 

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Authors
Gisolo, Davide; Bevilacqua, Ivan; Ramshorst, Justus van ; Knohl, Alexander ; Siebicke, Lukas; Previati, Maurizio; Canone, Davide; Ferraris, Stefano
Abstract
Evapotranspiration is a key variable of the hydrological cycle but poorly studied in Alpine ecosystems. The current study aimed to characterise the impact of topography and temporal variability on actual evapotranspiration (ETa) and its environmental drivers at an Alpine abandoned grassland encroached by shrubs on a steep slope. Eddy covariance, meteorological, hydrological and soil data were analysed over four growing seasons, of which two had wet and two dry conditions. The topography caused a systematic morning inflexion of ETa in all growing seasons, reflecting the valley wind system. Inter-annual differences of ETa exceeded 100 mm, and ETa means and cumulative values were significantly different between wet and dry growing seasons in the four years. Besides, ETa had a larger temporal variability in wet growing seasons. A bimodality of ETa was found in all years, caused by the onset of plant activity in the morning hours. Energy- and water-limited ETa periods were identified by comparing ETa to potential evapotranspiration (ETo). Periods of fifteen days revealed the main intra- and inter-annual differences of the environmental variables (air temperature, vapour pressure deficit—VPD, precipitation and ETa). The fixed effects of a linear mixed model based on ETa drivers explained 56% of ETa variance. The most important ETa drivers were net radiation and VPD, followed by wind speed. In growing seasons characterised by dry conditions, air temperature and the ground heat flux at the surface (either both or one of them) influenced ETa as well. The current study contributed to the understanding of topographical and temporal effects on evapotranspiration and other micrometeorological variables in an Alpine ecosystem still rarely studied.
Issue Date
16-June-2022
Journal
Atmosphere 
Organization
Fakultät für Forstwissenschaften und Waldökologie ; Büsgen-Institut ; Abteilung Bioklimatologie ; Zentrum für Biodiversität und Nachhaltige Landnutzung 
eISSN
2073-4433
Language
English
Sponsor
“MIUR—Dipartimento di Eccellenza” DIST department
PRIN MIUR 2017SL7ABC_005 WATZON Project

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