Simulating canopy temperature for modelling heat stress in cereals

H. Webber, F. Ewert, B. A. Kimball, S. Siebert, J. W. White, G. W. Wall, M. J. Ottman, D. N.A. Trawally, T. Gaiser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


Crop models must be improved to account for the effects of heat stress events on crop yields. To date, most approaches in crop models use air temperature to define heat stress intensity as the cumulative sum of thermal times (TT) above a high temperature threshold during a sensitive period for yield formation. However, observational evidence indicates that crop canopy temperature better explains yield reductions associated with high temperature events than air temperature does. This study presents a canopy level energy balance using Monin-Obukhov Similarity Theory (MOST) with simplifications about the canopy resistance that render it suitable for application in crop models and other models of the plant environment. The model is evaluated for a uniform irrigated wheat canopy in Arizona and rainfed maize in Burkina Faso. No single variable regression relationships for key explanatory variables were found that were consistent across sowing dates to explain the deviation of canopy temperature from air temperature. Finally, thermal times determined with simulated canopy temperatures were able to reproduce thermal times calculated with observed canopy temperature, whereas those determined with air temperatures were not.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)143-155
Number of pages13
JournalEnvironmental Modelling and Software
StatePublished - Mar 1 2016


  • Canopy temperature
  • Cereals
  • Crop models
  • Heat stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Ecological Modeling


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