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-23.1 Climate 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

May 10, 2019
Quantifying Decision Uncertainty in Water Management via a Coupled Agent-Based Model
Considering risk perception can improve the representation of human decision-making processes in age [more...]

May 09, 2019
Projecting Global Urban Area Growth Through 2100 Based on Historical Time Series Data and Future Scenarios
Study provides country-specific urban area growth models and the first dataset on country-level urba [more...]

May 05, 2019
Calibrating Building Energy Demand Models to Refine Long-Term Energy Planning
A new, flexible calibration approach improved model accuracy in capturing year-to-year changes in bu [more...]

May 03, 2019
Calibration and Uncertainty Analysis of Demeter for Better Downscaling of Global Land Use and Land Cover Projections
Researchers improved the Demeter model’s performance by calibrating key parameters and establi [more...]

Apr 22, 2019
Representation of U.S. Warm Temperature Extremes in Global Climate Model Ensembles
Representation of warm temperature events varies considerably among global climate models, which has [more...]

List all highlights (possible long download time)