Center for Research on Environment and Water

Calverton, MD, United States

Center for Research on Environment and Water

Calverton, MD, United States
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Christoffersen B.O.,University of Arizona | Restrepo-Coupe N.,University of Arizona | Restrepo-Coupe N.,University of Technology, Sydney | Arain M.A.,McMaster University | And 35 more authors.
Agricultural and Forest Meteorology | Year: 2014

Evapotranspiration (E) in the Amazon connects forest function and regional climate via its role in precipitation recycling However, the mechanisms regulating water supply to vegetation and its demand for water remain poorly understood, especially during periods of seasonal water deficits In this study, we address two main questions: First, how do mechanisms of water supply (indicated by rooting depth and groundwater) and vegetation water demand (indicated by stomatal conductance and intrinsic water use efficiency) control evapotranspiration (E) along broad gradients of climate and vegetation from equatorial Amazonia to Cerrado, and second, how do these inferred mechanisms of supply and demand compare to those employed by a suite of ecosystem models? We used a network of eddy covariance towers in Brazil coupled with ancillary measurements to address these questions With respect to the magnitude and seasonality of E, models have much improved in equatorial tropical forests by eliminating most dry season water limitation, diverge in performance in transitional forests where seasonal water deficits are greater, and mostly capture the observed seasonal depressions in E at Cerrado However, many models depended universally on either deep roots or groundwater to mitigate dry season water deficits, the relative importance of which we found does not vary as a simple function of climate or vegetation In addition, canopy stomatal conductance (gs) regulates dry season vegetation demand for water at all except the wettest sites even as the seasonal cycle of E follows that of net radiation In contrast, some models simulated no seasonality in gs, even while matching the observed seasonal cycle of E. We suggest that canopy dynamics mediated by leaf phenology may play a significant role in such seasonality, a process poorly represented in models Model bias in gs and E, in turn, was related to biases arising from the simulated light response (gross primary productivity, GPP) or the intrinsic water use efficiency of photosynthesis (iWUE). We identified deficiencies in models which would not otherwise be apparent based on a simple comparison of simulated and observed rates of E. While some deficiencies can be remedied by parameter tuning, in most models they highlight the need for continued process development of belowground hydrology and in particular, the biological processes of root dynamics and leaf phenology, which via their controls on E, mediate vegetation-climate feedbacks in the tropics. © 2014 Elsevier B.V.

Nigro J.,Science Systems And Applications Inc. | Nigro J.,NASA | Toll D.,NASA | Partington E.,U.S. Environmental Protection Agency | And 6 more authors.
Journal of Environmental Quality | Year: 2010

The USEPA has estimated that over 20,000 water bodies within the United States do not meet water quality standards. One of the regulations in the Clean Water Act of 1972 requires states to monitor the total maximum daily load, or the amount of pollution that can be carried by a water body before it is determined to be "polluted," for any watershed in the United States (Copeland, 2005). In response to this mandate, the USEPA developed Better Assessment Science Integrating Nonpoint Sources (BASINS) as a decision support tool for assessing pollution and to guide the decision-making process for improving water quality. One of the models in BASINS, the Hydrological Simulation Program-Fortran (HSPF), computes continuous streamflow rates and pollutant concentration at each basin outlet. By design, precipitation and other meteorological data from weather stations serve as standard model input. In practice, these stations may be unable to capture the spatial heterogeneity of precipitation events, especially if they are few and far between. An attempt was made to resolve this issue by substituting station data with NASA-modified/NOAA precipitation data. Using these data within HSPF, streamflow was calculated for seven watersheds in the Chesapeake Bay Basin during low flow periods, convective storm periods, and annual flows. In almost every case, the modeling performance of HSPF increased when using the NASA-modified precipitation data, resulting in better streamflow statistics and, potentially, in improved water quality assessment. Copyright © 2010 by the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and Soil Science Society of America. All rights reserved.

Tian Y.,The Interdisciplinary Center | Geiger Jr. J.V.,NASA | Su H.,Center for Research on Environment and Water | Kumar S.V.,SAIC | Houser P.R.,George Mason University
IEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Applied Earth Observations and Remote Sensing | Year: 2010

The Earth observation sensor web enables multiple-way interaction between earth observing sensors, sensor networks, Earth science models, and decision support systems. To achieve this goal, flexible and reliable integration between these disparate components is needed. In this study, a middleware-based, message-driven integration paradigm is proposed and implemented with the Land Information Sensor Web (LISW), to link a high-performance land surface modeling system with sensor simulators and other sensor web components, under a service-oriented architecture. OGC Sensor Web Enablement standard is adopted for interoperability. The middleware played a key role in enabling an integrated real-time sensor web with demonstrated simplicity, resilience and flexibility. We recommend that middleware-based integration should be adopted as a standard model in a wide range of sensor web applications, to replace the conventional point-to-point, client-server model. © 2010 IEEE.

Tugrul Yilmaz M.,George Mason University | Houser P.,George Mason University | Shrestha R.,Center for Research on Environment and Water | Anantharaj V.G.,Mississippi State University
Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology | Year: 2010

This paper introduces a new method to improve land surface model skill by merging different available precipitation datasets, given that an accurate land surface parameter ground truth is available. Precipitation datasets are merged with the objective of improving terrestrial water and energy cycle simulation skill, unlike most common methods in which the merging skills are evaluated by comparing the results with gauge data or selected reference data. The optimal merging method developed in this study minimizes the simulated land surface parameter (soil moisture, temperature, etc.) errors using the Noah land surface model with the Nelder-Mead (downhill simplex) method. In addition to improving the simulation skills, this method also impedes the adverse impacts of single-source precipitation data errors. Analysis has indicated that the results from the optimally merged precipitation product have fewer errors in other land surface states and fluxes such as evapotranspiration (ET), discharge R, and skin temperature T than do simulation results obtained by forcing the model using the precipitation products individually. It is also found that, using this method, the true knowledge of soil moisture information minimized land surface modeling errors better than the knowledge of other land surface parameters (ET, R, and T). Results have also shown that, although it does not have the true precipitation information, the method has associated heavier weights with the precipitation product that has intensity, amount, and frequency that are similar to those of the true precipitation. © 2010 American Meteorological Society.

Liu Y.Y.,University of New South Wales | Liu Y.Y.,CSIRO | Evans J.P.,University of New South Wales | McCabe M.F.,University of New South Wales | And 3 more authors.
Hydrology and Earth System Sciences | Year: 2010

Vertisols are clay soils that are common in the monsoonal and dry warm regions of the world. One of the characteristics of these soil types is to form deep cracks during periods of extended dry, resulting in significant variation of the soil and hydrologic properties. Understanding the influence of these varying soil properties on the hydrological behavior of the system is of considerable interest, particularly in the retrieval or simulation of soil moisture. In this study we compare surface soil moisture (θ in m3 m-3) retrievals from AMSR-E using the VUA-NASA (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam in collaboration with NASA) algorithm with simulations from the Community Land Model (CLM) over vertisol regions of mainland Australia. For the three-year period examined here (2003-2005), both products display reasonable agreement during wet periods. During dry periods however, AMSR-E retrieved near surface soil moisture falls below values for surrounding non-clay soils, while CLM simulations are higher. CLM θ are also higher than AMSR-E and their difference keeps increasing throughout these dry periods. To identify the possible causes for these discrepancies, the impacts of land use, topography, soil properties and surface temperature used in the AMSR-E algorithm, together with vegetation density and rainfall patterns, were investigated. However these do not explain the observed θ responses. Qualitative analysis of the retrieval model suggests that the most likely reason for the low AMSR-E θ is the increase in soil porosity and surface roughness resulting from cracking of the soil. To quantitatively identify the role of each factor, more in situ measurements of soil properties that can represent different stages of cracking need to be collected. CLM does not simulate the behavior of cracking soils, including the additional loss of moisture from the soil continuum during drying and the infiltration into cracks during rainfall events, which results in overestimated θ when cracks are present. The hydrological influence of soil physical changes are expected to propagate through the modeled system, such that modeled infiltration, evaporation, surface temperature, surface runoff and groundwater recharge should be interpreted with caution over these soil types when cracks might be present. Introducing temporally dynamic roughness and soil porosity into retrieval algorithms and adding a "cracking clay" module into models are expected to improve the representation of vertisol hydrology. © Author(s) 2010.

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