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Hydrology and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2019-257
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2019-257
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Technical note 18 Jun 2019

Technical note | 18 Jun 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Hydrology and Earth System Sciences (HESS).

Technical note on long-term probe misalignment and proposed quality control using the heat pulse method for transpiration estimations

Elisabeth K. Larsen1, Jose Luis Palau1, Jose Antonio Valiente1, Esteban Chirino2, and Juan Bellot3,4 Elisabeth K. Larsen et al.
  • 1Mediterranean Centre for Environmental Studies (Foundation CEAM), Charles R. Darwin 14, Parque Tecnològico, 46980 Paterna, Valencia, Spain
  • 2Faculty of Agricultural Sciences, Lay University Eloy Alfaro ofManabí, Ave. Circunvalación, Vía San Mateo, Manta 130802, Ecuador
  • 3Department of Ecology, University of Alicante, Apdo. 99, E-03080 Alicante, Spain
  • 4MEM Ramón Margalef, Department of Ecology, Faculty of Sciences, University of Alicante, 03080 Alicante, Spain

Abstract. Whole-plant transpiration is a crucial component in the hydrological cycle and a key parameter in many disciplines like agriculture, forestry and ecology. Sap flow measurements are one of the most widely used methods to estimate whole-plant transpiration in woody species due to its wide application range and its ready automation for continuous data readings. Several different methods have been developed and adjusted to different climatic conditions and wood properties. However, the scientific literature also identifies several sources of error in the method that needs to be accounted for; misalignment of the probes, wound to the xylem, thermal diffusivity and stem water content. This study aims to integrate probe misalignment as a function of time to improve readings during long-term measurements (> 3 months). We conclude that even when geometrical misalignments errors are small, the introduced corrections can imply an important shift in sap flow estimations. Additionally, we propose a new set of statistical information to be recorded during the measurement period to use as a quality control of the heat ratio readings obtained from the sensors. By using relative standard deviation and slope as quality indicators we concluded that no general time limit can be decided for all sensors but should rather be determined from individual performance over time.

Elisabeth K. Larsen et al.
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Short summary
To improve long-term sap flow measurements when using the heat ratio method, this study introduces a dynamic probe misalignment correction method. Sap flow data was obtained in four pines from April 2017 to December 2018 and shows how the current probe-correction approach declines in accuracy over time. Additionally, a new set of statistical information is proposed to be recorded along with the sap flow readings to ensure the quality of the heat ratios.
To improve long-term sap flow measurements when using the heat ratio method, this study...
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