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Soil Science Society of America Journal Abstract -

Energy and Water Balance of a Sparse Crop: Simulated and Measured Soil and Crop Evaporation1


This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 51 No. 5, p. 1113-1121
    Received: Nov 10, 1986

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  1. R. J. Lascano,
  2. C. H. M. van Bavel,
  3. J. L. Hatfield and
  4. D. R. Upchurch2



Dryland crops grown in semiarid environments often do not completely cover the soil, leaving a portion of the soil surface exposed to a condition of rapid soil-water evaporation. Quantitative separation of soil evaporation and crop transpiration is important if cultural practices or cultivars are to be evaluated. This study was designed to evaluate a combined energy and water balance model, ENWATBAL, to describe the concurrent heat and water fluxes in a row crop. Inputs to the model include soil and plant variables and daily weather data. Measurements were made for a period of 74 d over a cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.) canopy during 1985 on an Olton soil (fine, mixed, thermic Aridic Paleustolls) at Lubbock, TX. Data collected included soil-water content, soil temperature, root distribution, soil evaporation with microlysimeters, and leaf area index, for both an irrigated and a dryland plot. The values for daily evaporation and evapotranspiration calculated with the model were within 1 standard deviation of the measured values. Cumulative evaporation and evapotranspiration from the model agreed with measured values within 7% for the dryland and 8% for the irrigated plot. Estimated soil-water and temperature profiles also agreed closely to measured values. Soil evaporation was found to be 30% of evapotranspiration, for both the irrigated and the dryland plot. The ENWATBAL model provides a reliable method of evaluating the effects of management practices and crop selection on the water-use efficiency of crop production in a semiarid area.

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