Bridging Scales: An Approach to Evaluate the Temporal Patterns of Global Transpiration Products Using Tree-Scale Sap Flow Data

Paulo Bittencourt*, Lucy Rowland, Stephen Sitch, Rafael Poyatos, Diego G. Miralles, Maurizio Mencuccini

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Transpiration is a key process driving energy, water and thus carbon dynamics. Global transpiration products are fundamental for understanding and predicting vegetation processes. However, validation of these transpiration products is limited, mainly due to lack of suitable data sets. We propose a method to use SAPFLUXNET, the first quality-controlled global tree sap flow (SF) database, for evaluating transpiration products at global scale. Our method is based on evaluating temporal mismatches, rather than absolute values, by standardizing both transpiration and SF products. We evaluate how transpiration responses to hydro-meteorological variation from the Global Land Evaporation Amsterdam Model (GLEAM), a widely used global transpiration product, compare to in situ responses from SAPFLUXNET field data. Our results show GLEAM and SAPFLUXNET temporal trends are in good agreement, but diverge under extreme conditions. Their temporal mismatches differ depending on the magnitude of transpiration and are not random, but linked to energy and water availability. Despite limitations, we show that the new global SAPFLUXNET data set is a valuable tool to evaluate T products and identify problematic assumptions and processes embedded in models. The approach we propose can, therefore, be the foundation for a wider use of SAPFLUXNET, a new, independent, source of information, to understand the mechanisms controlling global transpiration fluxes.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2022JG007308
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2023


  • product validation
  • sap flow
  • transpiration
  • transpiration scaling


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