The estimation of the clear-sky effective PAR resources in a mountain area

When evaluating the actual photosynthetically active radiation – PAR – resources available to plants the simple measurement or estimation of its total amount can lead to misleading interpretations, due to the frequent occurrence of radiation intensity above the light saturation threshold. In this case, besides the quantity of radiation, the use of other variables providing information on the temporal distribution of the resource (i. e. the insolation time) may be advisable. This work is an exploratory analysis of the effect of topography on the availability of PAR in an alpine viticultural region, the Aosta Valley, by the adoption of an index based on the summation over a given time period (in this specific case a day) of only the fraction of radiation effective for photosynthesis. Assuming clear-sky conditions, the resulting estimated maps widely differ from those of the total PAR, indicating spatial patterns closer to those of insolation time. The estimated ratios of “effective” to total PAR, assuming fully functional physiological conditions and fully developed canopies, vary from about 0.5 to 0.7 in the summer and from about 0.7 to 1 during the final ripening period; these values may be even lower in stress conditions.

Authors:  O. Zecca (1), L. Mariani (2), O. Failla (2)

(1) Institut Agricole Régional, Rég. La Rochère, 1/A 11100 Aosta, Italy
(2) Dipartimento di Produzione Vegetale, Università degli Studi, via Celoria, 2, 20133 Milano, Italy

Email: o.zecca@iaraosta.it

Keywords: solar radiation, PAR, climate data, viticultural zoning 

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