Memory of irrigation effects on hydroclimate and its modeling challenge
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Memory of irrigation effects on hydroclimate and its modeling challenge
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  • Source:
    Environmental Research Letters
Filetype[PDF-2.39 MB]

  • Alternative Title:
    Memory of irrigation effects on hydroclimate and its modeling challenge
  • Description:
    Irrigation modifies land-surface water and energy budgets, and also influences weather and climate. However, current earth-system models, used for weather prediction and climate projection, are still in their infancy stage to consider irrigation effects. This study used long-term data collected from two contrasting (irrigated and rainfed) nearby maize-soybean rotation fields, to study the effects of irrigation memory on local hydroclimate. For a 12 year average, irrigation decreases summer surface-air temperature by less than 1 degrees C and increases surface humidity by 0.52 g kg(-1). The irrigation cooling effect is more pronounced and longer lasting for maize than for soybean. Irrigation reduces maximum, minimum, and averaged temperature over maize by more than 0.5 degrees C for the first six days after irrigation, but its temperature effect over soybean is mixed and negligible two or three days after irrigation. Irrigation increases near-surface humidity over maize by about 1 g kg(-1) up to ten days and increases surface humidity over soybean (similar to 0.8 g k(-1)) with a similar memory. These differing effects of irrigation memory on temperature and humidity are associated with respective changes in the surface sensible and latent heat fluxes formaize and soybean. These findings highlight great need and challenges for earth-system models to realistically simulate how irrigation effects vary with crop species and with crop growth stages, and to capture complex interactions between agricultural management and water-system components (crop transpiration, precipitation, river, reservoirs, lakes, groundwater, etc.) at various spatial and temporal scales.
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