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Remote sensing-based vegetation and soil moisture constraints reduce irrigation estimation uncertainty

Authors
  • Nie, Wanshu
  • Kumar, Sujay V
  • Bindlish, Rajat
  • Liu, Pang-Wei
  • Wang, Shugong
Type
Published Article
Journal
Environmental Research Letters
Publisher
IOP Publishing
Publication Date
Jul 22, 2022
Volume
17
Issue
8
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/ac7ed8
Source
ioppublishing
Keywords
Disciplines
  • Letter
License
Unknown

Abstract

Understanding the human water footprint and its impact on the hydrological cycle is essential to inform water management under climate change. Despite efforts in estimating irrigation water withdrawals in earth system models, uncertainties and discrepancies exist within and across modeling systems conditioned by model structure, irrigation parameterization, and the choice of input datasets. Achieving model reliability could be much more challenging for data-sparse regions, given limited access to ground truth for parameterization and validation. Here, we demonstrate the potential of utilizing remotely sensed vegetation and soil moisture observations in constraining irrigation estimation in the Noah-MP land surface model. Results indicate that the two constraints together can effectively reduce model sensitivity to the choice of irrigation parameterization by 7%–43%. It also improves the characterization of the spatial patterns of irrigation and its impact on evapotranspiration and surface soil moisture by correcting for vegetation conditions and irrigation timing. This study highlights the importance of utilizing remotely sensed soil moisture and vegetation measurements in detecting irrigation signals and correcting for vegetation growth. Integrating the two remote sensing datasets into the model provides an effective and less feature engineered approach to constraining the uncertainty of irrigation modeling. Such strategies can be potentially transferred to other modeling systems and applied to regions across the globe.

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