BER launches Environmental System Science Program. Visit our new website under construction!

U.S. Department of Energy Office of Biological and Environmental Research

BER Research Highlights


Toward an Earth System Modeling Approach to Simulate Irrigation Effects
Published: September 11, 2013
Posted: February 07, 2014

World agriculture consumes about 87% of global freshwater withdrawals, significantly impacting the global water cycle. Understanding irrigation impacts on land surface heat and moisture fluxes, surface and subsurface states, and their interactions with atmospheric processes is crucial for understanding historical climate change and modeling future climate at local and regional scales. Previous sensitivity studies of irrigation impacts on land surface show limited analysis of uncertainties from the input data and model irrigation schemes. A team of scientists, led by Department of Energy researchers at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, improved the performance of the Community Land Model version 4 (CLM4) in simulating irrigation water use and surface fluxes by calibrating the model against data from the agriculture census. They found that by using the irrigation area fraction datasets from two widely used sources as inputs, CLM4 tended to produce unrealistically large temporal variations of irrigation demand for applications at the water resources region scale over the conterminous United States. The results suggest that CLM4-simulated irrigation amount and surface fluxes could be improved by calibrating model parameter values and accurately representing the spatial distribution and intensity of irrigated areas. The research recommends a critical path forward to a realistic assessment of irrigation impacts by developing CLM to include groundwater pumping and irrigation efficiency modules, and coupling CLM with streamflow routing and water management modules to account for all sources of water supply.

Reference: Leng, G., M. Huang, Q. Tang, W. J. Sacks, H. Lei, and L. R. Leung. 2013. “Modeling the Effects of Irrigation on Land Surface Fluxes and States over the Conterminous United States: Sensitivity to Input Data and Model Parameters,” Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres 118, 9789-803. DOI:10.1002/jgrd.50792. (Reference link)

Contact: Dorothy Koch, SC-23.1, (301) 903-0105
Topic Areas:

  • Research Area: Earth and Environmental Systems Modeling

Division: SC-33.1 Earth and Environmental Sciences Division, BER

 

BER supports basic research and scientific user facilities to advance DOE missions in energy and environment. More about BER

Recent Highlights

Jan 11, 2022
No Honor Among Copper Thieves
Findings provide a novel means to manipulate methanotrophs for a variety of environmental and in [more...]

Dec 06, 2021
New Genome Editing Tools Can Edit Within Microbial Communities
Two new technologies allow scientists to edit specific species and genes within complex laborato [more...]

Oct 27, 2021
Fungal Recyclers: Fungi Reuse Fire-Altered Organic Matter
Degrading pyrogenic (fire-affected) organic matter is an important ecosystem function of fungi i [more...]

Oct 19, 2021
Microbes Offer a Glimpse into the Future of Climate Change
Scientists identify key features in microbes that predict how warming affects carbon dioxide emi [more...]

Aug 25, 2021
Assessing the Production Cost and Carbon Footprint of a Promising Aviation Biofuel
Biomass-derived DMCO has the potential to serve as a low-carbon, high-performance jet fuel blend [more...]

List all highlights (possible long download time)