Articles | Volume 19, issue 2
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 19, 969–980, 2015
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-19-969-2015
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 19, 969–980, 2015
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-19-969-2015

Research article 20 Feb 2015

Research article | 20 Feb 2015

Development and evaluation of an efficient soil-atmosphere model (FHAVeT) based on the Ross fast solution of the Richards equation for bare soil conditions

A.-J. Tinet4,1, A. Chanzy1, I. Braud2, D. Crevoisier3, and F. Lafolie1 A.-J. Tinet et al.
  • 1Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique, Unite Mixte de Recherche 1114 Environnement Mediterraneen et Modelisation des Agro-Hydrosystemes, Site Agroparc, 84914 Avignon CEDEX 9, France
  • 2Irstea HHLY – Hydrology – Hydraulics, Lyon-Villeurbanne, France
  • 3INRA, UMR LISAH (INRA-IRD-SupAgro), 34060 Montpellier, France
  • 4Université de Lorraine, CNRS, CREGU, GeoRessources laboratory, 54518 Vandoeuvre-les-Nancy, France

Abstract. In agricultural management, a good timing in operations, such as irrigation or sowing, is essential to enhance both economical and environmental performance. To improve such timing, predictive software are of particular interest. Optimal decision-software would require process modules which provide robust, efficient and accurate predictions while being based on a minimal amount of parameters easily available. The objective of this study is to assess the accuracy of a physically based model with high efficiency. To this aim, this paper develops a coupled model with climatic forcing based on the Ross fast solution for Richards' equation, heat transfer and detailed surface energy balance. The present study is limited to bare soil, but the impact of vegetation can be easily included. The developed model, FHAVeT (Fast Hydro Atmosphere Vegetation Temperature), is evaluated against the coupled model based on the Philip and De Vries (1957) description, TEC. The two models were compared for different climatic and soil conditions. Moreover, the model allows using various pedotransfer functions. The FHAVeT model showed better performance in regards to mass balance, mostly below 0.002 m, and generally improved computation time. In order to allow for a more precise comparison, six time windows were selected. The study demonstrated that the FHAVeT behaviour is quite similar to the TEC behaviour except under some dry conditions. The ability of the models to detect the occurrence of soil intermediate water content thresholds with a 1 day tolerance was also evaluated. Both models agreed in more than 90% of the cases.

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Short summary
In agricultural management, a good timing in operations is essential to enhance economical and environmental performance. To improve such timing, predictive software is of particular interest. The objective of this study is to assess the accuracy of a physically based model with high efficiency. Compared to a more complex software (TEC) under bare soil conditions, a coupled model shows mostly improved efficiency and balance and a good capacity to predict water content thresholds.