December 30, 2008--Laser experiment aimed at saving farm water (Denver Post)

Seventy-six years after the invention of the modern sprinkler helped revolutionize farming, a professor of environmental engineering is pointing a laser beam across an alfalfa crop in Southern California's bone-dry Imperial Valley, looking for a better way to conserve the millions of gallons of water sprayed each year on thirsty crops. Jan Kleissl and a handful of his students at the University of California, San Diego, have rigged up a telescope-looking contraption called a large aperture scintillometer to study exactly how much water crops lose to evaporation and the peak times that water disappears. The hope is to give farmers a more accurate, up-to-date reading of how efficiently their crops are using water than current technology allows.

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