Soil Moisture and Vegetation Controls on Surface Energy Balance Using the Maximum Entropy Production Model of Evapotranspiration

Friday, 19 December 2014: 1:55 PM
Jingfeng Wang, GA Ins of Tech-Civil & Env Eng, Atlanta, GA, United States, Anthony Parolari, Duke University, Durham, NC, United States and Shih-Yu Huang, Georgia Institute of Technology Main Campus, Atlanta, GA, United States
The objective of this study is to formulate and test plant water stress parameterizations for the recently proposed maximum entropy production (MEP) model of evapotranspiration (ET) over vegetated surfaces. . The MEP model of ET is a parsimonious alternative to existing land surface parameterizations of surface energy fluxes from net radiation, temperature, humidity, and a small number of parameters. The MEP model was previously tested for vegetated surfaces under well-watered and dry, dormant conditions, when the surface energy balance is relatively insensitive to plant physiological activity. Under water stressed conditions, however, the plant water stress response strongly affects the surface energy balance. This effect occurs through plant physiological adjustments that reduce ET to maintain leaf turgor pressure as soil moisture is depleted during drought. To improve MEP model of ET predictions under water stress conditions, the model was modified to incorporate this plant-mediated feedback between soil moisture and ET. We compare MEP model predictions to observations under a range of field conditions, including bare soil, grassland, and forest. The results indicate a water stress function that combines the soil water potential in the surface soil layer with the atmospheric humidity successfully reproduces observed ET decreases during drought. In addition to its utility as a modeling tool, the calibrated water stress functions also provide a means to infer ecosystem influence on the land surface state. Challenges associated with sampling model input data (i.e., net radiation, surface temperature, and surface humidity) are also discussed.