Optimization of canopy conductance models from concurrent measurements of sap flow and stem water potential on Drooping Sheoak in South Australia

Hailong Wang, Huade Guan, Zijuan Deng, Craig T Simmons

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48 Citations (Scopus)
34 Downloads (Pure)


Canopy conductance (gc) is a critical component in hydrological modeling for transpiration estimate. It is often formulated as functions of environmental variables. These functions are climate and vegetation specific. Thus, it is important to determine the appropriate functions in gc models and corresponding parameter values for a specific environment. In this study, sap flow, stem water potential, and microclimatic variables were measured for three Drooping Sheoak (Allocasuarina verticillata) trees in year 2011, 2012, and 2014. Canopy conductance was calculated from the inversed Penman‐Monteith (PM) equation, which was then used to examine 36 gc models that comprise different response functions. Parameters were optimized using the DiffeRential Evolution Adaptive Metropolis (DREAM) model based on a training data set in 2012. Use of proper predawn stem water potential function, vapor pressure deficit function, and temperature function improves model performance significantly, while no pronounced difference is observed between models that differ in solar radiation functions. The best model gives a correlation coefficient of 0.97, and root‐mean‐square error of 0.0006 m/s in comparison to the PM‐calculated gc. The optimized temperature function shows different characteristics from its counterparts in other similar studies. This is likely due to strong interdependence between air temperature and vapor pressure deficit in the study area or Sheoak tree physiology. Supported by the measurements and optimization results, we suggest that the effects of air temperature and vapor pressure deficit on canopy conductance should be represented together.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6154-6167
Number of pages14
JournalWater Resources Research
Issue number7
Early online date29 Jul 2014
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2014
EventAmerican Geophysical Fall Meeting -
Duration: 1 Oct 20131 Oct 2013

Bibliographical note

This project is supported by National Centre for Groundwater Research and
Training (NCGRT, Australia). The first author is supported by China
Scholarship Council and NCGRT for his PhD study at Flinders University of
South Australia. Xiang Xu and Yunhui Guo provided assistance in the field.
Constructive comments and suggestion from three anonymous
reviewers significantly improve the manuscript.

This article also appears in:
Patterns in Soil-Vegetation-Atmosphere Systems: Monitoring, Modelling and Data Assimilation.


  • Drooping Sheoak
  • sap flow
  • stem water potential
  • canopy conductance
  • DREAM optimization
  • South Australia


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