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The effect of different evapotranspiration methods on portraying soil water dynamics and ET partitioning in a semi-arid environment in Northwest China

Posted by Yijian Zeng in the category Case Studies

Case Study 1:

The effect of different evapotranspiration methods on portraying soil water dynamics and ET partitioning in a semi-arid environment in Northwest China

Different methods for assessing evapotranspiration (ET) can significantly affect the performance of land surface models portraying soil water dynamics and ET partitioning. An accurate understanding of the impact a method has is crucial in determining the effectiveness of an irrigation scheme. Two evapotranspiration (ET) methods are discussed: one, based on reference crop evapotranspiration (ET0) theory, uses LAI for partitioning into soil evaporation and transpiration and is denoted as the ETind method; the other is a one-step calculation of actual soil evaporation and potential transpiration by incorporating canopy minimum resistance and actual soil resistance into the Penman-Montieth model, and is denoted as the ETdir method. In this study, a soil water model, considering the coupled transfer of water, vapor, and heat in the soil, was used to investigate how different ET methods could affect the calculation of the soil water dynamics and ET partitioning in a crop field. Results indicate that for two different ET methods this model varied concerning the simulation of soil water content and crop evapotranspiration components, but the simulation of soil temperature agreed well with lysimeter observations. Considering aerodynamic and surface resistance terms improved the ETdir method regarding simulating soil evaporation, especially after irrigation. Furthermore, the results of different crop growth scenarios indicate that the uncertainty in LAI played an important role in estimating the relative transpiration and evaporation fraction. The impact of maximum rooting depth and root growth rate on calculating ET components might increase in drying soil. The influence of maximum rooting depth was larger late in the growing season, while the influence of root growth rate dominated early in the growing season.

Citation: Yu, L., Zeng, Y., Su, Z., Cai, H., and Zheng, Z.: The effect of different evapotranspiration methods on portraying soil water dynamics and ET partitioning in a semi-arid environment in Northwest China, Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 20, 975-990, doi:10.5194/hess-20-975-2016, 2016.

 

 

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Figure 1 Comparison between simulated and observed soil moisture and soil temperature.

scatter_Hourly

Figure 2¬†Scatter plot of hrly observed and simulated ET rates, with ‘X’ being estimated using the ET_dir method and ‘o’ being estimations using the ET_ind method.

 

 

 

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