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Evapotranspiration from Wheat Fields in a CO2-Enriched World
Kimball, B.A., LaMorte, R.L., Pinter Jr., P.J., Wall, G.W., Hunsaker, D.J., Adamsen, F.J., Leavitt, S.W., Thompson, T.L., Matthias, A.D. and Brooks, T.J.  1999.  Free-air CO2 enrichment and soil nitrogen effects on energy balance and evapotranspiration of wheat.  Water Resources Research 35: 1179-1190.

What was done
The authors grew spring wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) in FACE plots receiving atmospheric CO2 concentrations of 350 and 550 ppm and low or high soil nitrogen concentrations to study the effects of elevated CO2 and soil nitrogen on evapotranspiration from fields planted to this important cereal grain crop.

What was learned
Elevated CO2 consistently reduced daily evapotranspiration throughout the two-year study.  Indeed, CO2-enriched plots experienced daily water losses that were about 7 and 20% less than those observed in control plots under high and low levels of soil nitrogen, respectively.

What it means
As the air's CO2 content rises, water losses via evapotranspiration from wheat fields will likely be reduced.  Consequently, wheat will likely fare better under drought conditions and should additionally display increased water-use efficiency.

Reviewed 25 December 2002