Atmosphere: The Fluid Envelope That Covers the Planet Earth
The fourth subsystem of the Soil–Plant–Atmosphere System (SPAS), described in this book, is the Atmosphere. For the purposes of this book, the water vapor and the solar radiation are the main subjects related to crop production. After discussing the composition and the structure of the atmosphere, water vapor is treated in detail giving the basis for the processes described in the later chapters, as the evaporation of water from the soil surface, the transpiration by plants, evapotranspiration, and agricultural water balances. Solar radiation is treated in more detail, explaining the electromagnetic waves of which it is constituted and introducing concepts and definitions needed for the understanding of the solar radiation as the primary energy available for crop production. The greenhouse effect and the old but still used concept of Degree Days are discussed in relation to plant growth. Aspects of the wind in relation to agriculture are also shortly commented upon.
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