Finite element tree crown hydrodynamics model (FETCH) using porous media flow within branching elements: A new representation of tree hydrodynamics

Gil Bohrer, Hashem Mourad, Tod A. Laursen, Darren Drewry, Roni Avissar, Davide Poggi, Ram Oren, Gabriel G. Katul

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

[1] Estimating transpiration and water flow in trees remains a major challenge for quantifying water exchange between the biosphere and the atmosphere. We develop a finite element tree crown hydrodynamics (FETCH) model that uses porous media equations for water flow in an explicit three-dimensional branching fractal tree-crown system. It also incorporates a first-order canopy-air turbulence closure model to generate the external forcing of the system. We use FETCH to conduct sensitivity analysis of transpirational dynamics to changes in canopy structure via two scaling parameters for branch thickness and conductance. We compare our results with the equivalent parameters of the commonly used resistor and resistor-capacitor representations of tree hydraulics. We show that the apparent temporal and vertical variability in these parameters strongly depends on structure. We suggest that following empirical calibration and validation, FETCH could be used as a platform for calibrating the "scaling laws" between tree structure and hydrodynamics and for surface parameterization in meteorological and hydrological models.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberW11404
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
JournalWater Resources Research
Volume41
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2005
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology

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