Articles | Volume 13, issue 3
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 13, 305–317, 2009
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 13, 305–317, 2009

  11 Mar 2009

11 Mar 2009

Large-scale lysimeter site St. Arnold, Germany: analysis of 40 years of precipitation, leachate and evapotranspiration

N. Harsch1, M. Brandenburg2, and O. Klemm1 N. Harsch et al.
  • 1Institute of Landscape Ecology, University Münster, Germany
  • 2State Office for Nature, Environment and Consumer Protection, Germany

Abstract. This study deals with a lysimetrical-meteorological data series collected on the large-scale lysimeter site "St. Arnold", Germany, from November 1965 to April 2007. The particular relevance of this data rests both upon its perdurability and upon the fact that the site is comprised of a grassland basin, an oak/beech and a pine basin.

Apart from analyzing long term trends of the meteorological measurements, the primary objective of this study is to investigate the water balance in grassland and forested basins, in particular comparing the precipitation term to leachate quantities and potential and actual evapotranspiration. The latter are based upon the Penman and the Penman-Monteith approaches, respectively.

The main results of this survey are that, on a long-term average, the grassland basin turns more than half (53%) of its annually incoming precipitation into leachate and only 36% into water vapour, while the deciduous forest exhibits a ratio of 37% for leachate and 56% for evapotranspiration, and the evergreen coniferous forest shows the highest evaporation rate (65%) and the lowest leachate rate (26%).

Concerning these water balances, considerable differences both between basins and between seasons stand out. While summer periods exhibit high evapotranspiration rates for the forests and moderate ones for the grassland, winter periods are characterised by considerable leachate quantities for grassland and the deciduous forest and moderate ones for the coniferous forest. Following the analysis of the climatic development in St. Arnold, trends towards a milder and more humid regional climate were detected.