downward longwave radiation, land use, Priestley-Taylor evapotranspiration, water stress, energy partitioning, Floridian bahia grassland


Modern tools, nontraditional datasets and a better understanding of the interaction between climate and ecohydrology are continuously being developed as today's society is in critical need for improving water management, predicting hydrometeorological hazards and forecasting future climate. In particular, the study of the intra- and inter-annual variations in grass productivity and evapotranspiration caused by variations in precipitation/soil moisture and other biophysical factors is of great significance due to their relation to future climatic changes. The research presented here falls in three parts. In the first part of the dissertation, a land use adaptable model, based on the superposition of the temperature and water vapor pressure effects, is proposed for the effective clear sky emissivity. Ground radiometer and meteorological data, applicable in the subtropical climate of Saint Johns River Water Management District, Florida, were utilized for the model development over the spring season of 2004. The performance of this model was systematically evaluated by pertinent comparisons with previously established models using data over various land covers. The second part of the thesis investigates the dynamics of evapotranspiration with respect to its significant environmental and biological controls over an unmanaged bahia grassland. Eddy correlation measurements were carried out at a flux tower in Central Florida over the annual course of 2004. The main focus was on the sensitivity of the water vapor flux to wetness variables, namely the volumetric soil water content and the current precipitation index. It was shown that the time scales involved with the dynamics of evapotranspiration were on the order of six days, suggesting that depletion of the soil moisture was mostly responsible for the temporal fluctuations in evapotranspiration. Finally, simple models for the Priestley-Taylor factor were employed in terms of water availability, and the modeled results closely matched the eddy covariance flux values on daily time scale during all moisture conditions. In the third part of this work, the partitioning between latent and sensible heat fluxes was systematically examined with respect to biophysical factors. It was found that the seasonal variations in leaf area index, soil water content and net radiation were reflected in a strong seasonal pattern of the energy balance. Calculations of the bulk parameters, namely Priestley-Taylor parameter and decoupling coefficient, indicated that evapotranspiration of this grassland was controlled by water supply limitations and surface conductance. At an annual basis, the cumulative evapotranspiration was 59 percent of the precipitation received at the site. The results of this research complemented with other studies will promote better understanding of land-atmosphere interactions, accurate parameterizations of hydroclimatic models, and assessment of climate impact of grassland ecosystems.


If this is your thesis or dissertation, and want to learn how to access it or for more information about readership statistics, contact us at

Graduation Date



Nnadi, Fidelia


Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


College of Engineering and Computer Science


Civil and Environmental Engineering

Degree Program

Civil Engineering








Release Date

May 2009

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)