Seasonal evapotranspiration patterns in mangrove forests

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Abstract

Diurnal and seasonal controls on water vapor fluxes were investigated in a subtropical mangrove forest in Everglades National Park, Florida. Energy partitioning between sensible and latent heat fluxes was highly variable during the 2004–2005 study period. During the dry season, the mangrove forest behaved akin to a semiarid ecosystem as most of the available energy was partitioned into sensible heat, which gave Bowen ratio values exceeding 1.0 and minimum latent heat fluxes of 5 MJ d−1. In contrast, during the wet season the mangrove forest acted as a well-watered, broadleaved deciduous forest, with Bowen ratio values of 0.25 and latent heat fluxes reaching 18 MJ d−1. During the dry season, high salinity levels (> 30 parts per thousand, ppt) caused evapotranspiration to decline and correspondingly resulted in reduced canopy conductance. From multiple linear regression, daily average canopy conductance to water vapor declined with increasing salinity, vapor pressure deficit, and daily sums of solar irradiance but increased with air temperature and friction velocity. Using these relationships, appropriately modified Penman-Monteith and Priestley-Taylor models reliably reproduced seasonal trends in daily evapotranspiration. Such numerical models, using site-specific parameters, are crucial for constructing seasonal water budgets, constraining hydrological models, and driving regional climate models over mangrove forests.

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