Estimating evaporation from a wet grassland
Abstract. Wet grasslands are being restored across the UK and Europe to reinstate their high biodiversity following over 50 years of drainage and conversion to arable agriculture. The water balance of many wet grasslands is dominated by precipitation and evaporation and it is essential to quantify evaporation rates to understand the hydrological functioning of wetlands and the implications for water resources in catchments where wetlands are being restored. This paper considers data from direct measurements of evaporation from the Pevensey Levels wet grassland using the eddy correlation method. Equations are derived to predict actual evaporation using meteorological data on the site or from standard meteorological station observations. It was found that evaporation could be estimated reliably from meteorological variables, such as wind speed, temperature and humidity and by water availability. It was also found that when water availability is high, evaporation is high and may exceed reference evaporation values, raising questions over the deployment of the two-step Penman-Monteith model unless reliable crop coefficients and relative evaporation figures can be determined.