Seasonal variability of evapotranspiration and carbon exchanges over a biomass sorghum field in the Southern US Great Plains Academic Article uri icon


  • 2017 Elsevier Ltd The eddy covariance method was used to investigate carbon fluxes and evapotranspiration (ET) from a high biomass forage sorghum (Sorghum bicolor L.) field in the Southern U.S. Great Plains for three growing seasons (20132015). Above normal precipitation and narrow row spacing (50 cm) led to higher biomass production (25 Mg ha1) and leaf area index (LAI = 7.2) development in 2014. This also resulted in higher carbon uptake or net ecosystem production (NEP) and ET during that year. Early and late season precipitation enhanced ecosystem respiration (Reco) resulting in lower NEP in 2015. Shorter growing season (119 days) also contributed to lower cumulative NEP in 2015. Estimated gross primary production (GPP) in 2014 (1780 g m2) was 10% higher than the GPP in 2013 (1591 g m2) and 24% higher than the GPP in 2015 (1353 g m2). During all growing seasons, the site was a source of carbon (negative NEP) at the beginning and transitioned to a sink (positive NEP) later in the season. Biomass-GPP relationship indicated that approximately 65% of total GPP was allocated to above ground biomass (AGB). Average monthly ecosystem WUE (expressed as gross carbon gain per unit of ET) ranged from 1.7 g mm1 to 4.2 g mm1. Results from our study indicate that weather conditions, growing season length and crop management are important factors in determining the magnitude of carbon uptake and release, and ET of this cellulosic biofuel feedstock crop in the Southern U.S. Great Plains.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Sharma, S., Rajan, N., Cui, S., Casey, K., Ale, S., Jessup, R., & Maas, S.

citation count

  • 10

complete list of authors

  • Sharma, Sumit||Rajan, Nithya||Cui, Song||Casey, Kenneth||Ale, Srinivasulu||Jessup, Russell||Maas, Stephen

publication date

  • January 2017