The variation of components in the radiation balance over different fynbos vegitation types

Master Thesis


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University of Cape Town

The primary aim of this research is to test whether fynbos vegetation has a high reflection coefficient, and the secondary aim is to consider the vegetation at the sites where the radiation measurements were carried out in order to determine whether similar vegetation structural types have similar radiation regimes. In order to do this, six sites were selected in the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve. At each site the radiation fluxes were measured for three days during the late summer, giving a total of eighteen days of observation. In addition to the radiation measurements structural data was collected for the vegetation at each site so that comparisons between the radiation fluxes and vegetation could be made. Floristic data was also collected, to typify the vegetation at each site. It has been found that fynbos vegetation, as represented by this study, has an unusually low reflection coefficient which varies from 0,08 - 0,13. These values are below those recorded in the literature for other heathland vegetation. On the basis of a numerical classification of the vegetation structural data, it has been found that there is no clear relationship between the vegetation and the various components of the radiation balance.

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