Micrometeorological measurements of evapotranspiration (ET) often are affected to some degree by errors arising from limited fetch. A recently developed model was used to estimate fetch-induced errors in Bowen-ratio energy-budget measurements of ET made at a small wetland with fetch-to-height ratios ranging from 34 to 49. Estimated errors were small, averaging −1.90% ± 0.59%. The small errors are attributed primarily to the near-zero lower sensor height, and the negative bias reflects the greater Bowen ratios of the drier surrounding upland. Some of the variables and parameters affecting the error were not measured, but instead are estimated. A sensitivity analysis indicates that the uncertainty arising from these estimates is small. In general, fetch-induced error in measured wetland ET increases with decreasing fetch-to-height ratio, with increasing aridity and with increasing atmospheric stability over the wetland. Occurrence of standing water at a site is likely to increase the appropriate time step of data integration, for a given level of accuracy. Occurrence of extensive open water can increase accuracy or decrease the required fetch by allowing the lower sensor to be placed at the water surface. If fetch is highly variable and fetch-induced errors are significant, the variables affecting fetch (e.g., wind direction, water level) need to be measured. Fetch-induced error during the non-growing season may be greater or smaller than during the growing season, depending on how seasonal changes affect both the wetland and upland at a site.
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Vol. 24 • No. 3