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Hydrology and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2020-493
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2020-493
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  13 Oct 2020

13 Oct 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal HESS.

The role of dew and radiation fog inputs in the local water cycling of a temperate grassland in Central Europe

Yafei Li1, Franziska Aemisegger2, Andreas Riedl1, Nina Buchmann1, and Werner Eugster1 Yafei Li et al.
  • 1Institute of Agricultural Sciences, ETH Zurich, Zurich Switzerland
  • 2Institute for Atmospheric and Climate Science, ETH Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland

Abstract. In a warmer climate, non-rainfall water (hereafter NRW) formed from dew and fog potentially plays an increasingly important role in temperate grassland ecosystems under the scarcity of precipitation over prolonged periods. Dew and radiation fog occur in combination during clear and calm nights, and both use ambient water vapor as a source. Research on the combined mechanisms involved in NRW inputs to ecosystems are rare, and the condensation of soil-diffusing vapor, as one of the NRW input pathways for dew formation, has hardly been studied at all. The aim of this paper is thus to investigate the different NRW input pathways into a temperate Swiss grassland at Chamau during prolonged dry periods in summer 2018. We measured the isotopic compositions (δ18O, δ2H, and d = δ2H − 8 · δ18O) of both ambient water vapor and the NRW droplets on leaf surfaces combined with eddy covariance and meteorological measurements during one dew-only and two combined dew and radiation fog events. We employed a simple two end-member mixing model using δ18O and δ2H to split the dew input pathways from different sources. Our results showed a decrease of 0.8–5.5 mmol mol−1 in volumetric water vapor mixing ratio and a decrease of 4.8–16.7 ‰ in ambient water vapor δ2H due to dew formation and radiation fog droplet deposition. A nighttime maximum in ambient water vapor δ18O (−15.5 ‰ to −14.3 ‰) and a 3.4–3.7 ‰ decrease in ambient water vapor d were observed for dew formation in unsaturated conditions. In conditions of slight super-saturation, a stronger decrease of ambient water vapor δ18O (0.3–1.5 ‰) and a minimum of ambient water vapor d (−6.0 ‰ to −4.7 ‰) were observed. The combined foliage NRW and ambient water vapor δ18O and δ2H suggested two different input pathways: (1) condensation of ambient water vapor and (2) of soil-diffusing vapor. The latter contributed 9–42 % to the total foliage NRW. The dew and radiation fog potentially produced 0.06–0.39 mm night−1 NRW gain on foliage, which was comparable with 2.8 mm day−1 daytime evapotranspiration. The ambient water vapor d was correlated and anti-correlated with ambient temperature and ambient relative humidity respectively, suggesting an only minor influence of large-scale air advection and highlighted the dominant role of local moisture as a source for ambient water vapor. Our results thus highlight the importance of NRW inputs to temperate grasslands during prolonged dry periods and reveal the complexity of the local water cycle in such conditions including different pathways of water deposition.

Yafei Li et al.

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Yafei Li et al.

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Short summary
Dew and fog inputs are rarely investigated in temperate ecosystems. With climate change, prolonged dry periods are expected, hence dew and fog might become a more important water source even in temperate grasslands to alleviate plant drought stress. Our results using stable water isotopes highlight the importance of dew and fog inputs to temperate grasslands during prolonged dry periods and reveal the complexity of the local water cycle including different pathways of dew and fog inputs.
Dew and fog inputs are rarely investigated in temperate ecosystems. With climate change,...
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