High-resolution characterization of a semiarid watershed

Implications on evapotranspiration estimates

Ryan C. Templeton, Enrique Vivoni, Luis A. Méndez-Barroso, Nicole A. Pierini, Cody A. Anderson, Albert Rango, Andrea S. Laliberte, Russell L. Scott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

27 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The North American monsoon (NAM) contributes roughly half of the annual precipitation in the Chihuahuan Desert from July to September. Relatively frequent, intense storms increase soil moisture and lead to ephemeral runoff. Quantifying these processes, however, is difficult due to the sparse nature of existing observations. This study presents results from a dense network of rain gauges, soil probes, channel flumes, and an eddy covariance tower in a small watershed of the Jornada Experimental Range. Using this network, the temporal and spatial variability of soil moisture conditions and channel runoff were assessed from June 2010 to September 2011. In addition, tower measurements were used to quantify the seasonal, monthly and event-scale changes in land-atmosphere states and fluxes. Results from this study indicate a strong seasonality in water and energy fluxes, with a reduction in the Bowen ratio (B) from winter (B=14) to summer (B=3.3). This reduction was tied to higher shallow soil moisture (θ) availability during the summer (θ=0.040m3/m3) as compared to winter (θ=0.004m3/m3). Four consecutive rainfall-runoff events during the NAM were used to quantify the soil moisture and channel runoff responses and how water availability impacted land-atmosphere fluxes. The network also allowed comparisons of several approaches to estimate evapotranspiration (ET). Using a water balance residual approach, a more accurate ET estimate was obtained when distributed measurements were used, as opposed to single site measurements at the tower. In addition, the spatially-varied soil moisture data yielded a more reasonable daily relation between ET and θ, an important parameterization in many hydrologic models. These analyses illustrate the value of high-resolution sampling in small watersheds to characterize hydrologic processes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)306-319
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Hydrology
Volume509
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 13 2014

Fingerprint

evapotranspiration
soil moisture
watershed
runoff
monsoon
Bowen ratio
shallow soil
atmosphere
winter
eddy covariance
summer
energy flux
water availability
seasonality
water budget
gauge
parameterization
desert
probe
rainfall

Keywords

  • Environmental sensor network
  • Evapotranspiration
  • Mixed shrubland
  • Soil moisture
  • Unmanned Aerial Vehicle
  • Watershed hydrology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology

Cite this

Templeton, R. C., Vivoni, E., Méndez-Barroso, L. A., Pierini, N. A., Anderson, C. A., Rango, A., ... Scott, R. L. (2014). High-resolution characterization of a semiarid watershed: Implications on evapotranspiration estimates. Journal of Hydrology, 509, 306-319. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhydrol.2013.11.047

High-resolution characterization of a semiarid watershed : Implications on evapotranspiration estimates. / Templeton, Ryan C.; Vivoni, Enrique; Méndez-Barroso, Luis A.; Pierini, Nicole A.; Anderson, Cody A.; Rango, Albert; Laliberte, Andrea S.; Scott, Russell L.

In: Journal of Hydrology, Vol. 509, 13.02.2014, p. 306-319.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Templeton, RC, Vivoni, E, Méndez-Barroso, LA, Pierini, NA, Anderson, CA, Rango, A, Laliberte, AS & Scott, RL 2014, 'High-resolution characterization of a semiarid watershed: Implications on evapotranspiration estimates', Journal of Hydrology, vol. 509, pp. 306-319. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhydrol.2013.11.047
Templeton, Ryan C. ; Vivoni, Enrique ; Méndez-Barroso, Luis A. ; Pierini, Nicole A. ; Anderson, Cody A. ; Rango, Albert ; Laliberte, Andrea S. ; Scott, Russell L. / High-resolution characterization of a semiarid watershed : Implications on evapotranspiration estimates. In: Journal of Hydrology. 2014 ; Vol. 509. pp. 306-319.
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