Evaluating the Crop Water Stress Index and its correlation with latent heat and CO<inf>2</inf> fluxes over winter wheat and maize in the North China plain

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Agricultural Water Management, 2010, 97 (8), pp. 1146 - 1155
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Plant water status is a key factor impacting crop growth and agricultural water management. Crop water stress may alter canopy temperature, the energy balance, transpiration, photosynthesis, canopy water use efficiency, and crop yield. The objective of this study was to calculate the Crop Water Stress Index (CWSI) from canopy temperature and energy balance measurements and evaluate the utility of CWSI to quantify water stress by comparing CWSI to latent heat and carbon dioxide (CO2) flux measurements over canopies of winter wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) and summer maize (Zea mays L.). The experiment was conducted at the Yucheng Integrated Agricultural Experimental Station of the Chinese Academy of Sciences from 2003 to 2005. Latent heat and CO2 fluxes (by eddy covariance), canopy and air temperature, relative humidity, net radiation, wind speed, and soil heat flux were averaged at half-hour intervals. Leaf area index and crop height were measured every 7 days. CWSI was calculated from measured canopy-air temperature differences using the Jackson method. Under high net radiation conditions (greater than 500 W m-2), calculated values of minimum canopy-air temperature differences were similar to previously published empirically determined non-water-stressed baselines. Valid measures of CWSI were only obtained when canopy closure minimized the influence of viewed soil on infrared canopy temperature measurements (leaf area index was greater than 2.5 m2 m-2). Wheat and maize latent heat flux and canopy CO2 flux generally decreased linearly with increases in CWSI when net radiation levels were greater than 300 W m-2. The responses of latent heat flux and CO2 flux to CWSI did not demonstrate a consistent relationship in wheat that would recommend it as a reliable water stress quantification tool. The responses of latent heat flux and CO2 flux to CWSI were more consistent in maize, suggesting that CWSI could be useful in identifying and quantifying water stress conditions when net radiation was greater than 300 W m-2. The results suggest that CWSI calculated by the Jackson method under varying solar radiation and wind speed conditions may be used for irrigation scheduling and agricultural water management of maize in irrigated agricultural regions, such as the North China Plain.
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