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Hydrology and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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We used a tracer-aided ecohydrological model to quantify water flux-storage-age interactions for three urban vegetation types: Trees, shrub and grass. The model results showed that evapotranspiration increased in the order shrub < grass < trees during one growing season. Additionally, we could show how “infiltration hot-spots” created by runoff from sealed surfaces unto vegetated surfaces can enhance both evapotranspiration and groundwater recharge.
Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2020-640
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2020-640

  06 Jan 2021

06 Jan 2021

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal HESS.

Quantifying the effects of urban green space on water partitioning and ages using an isotope-based ecohydrological model

Mikael Gillefalk1,2, Dörthe Tetzlaff2,3, Reinhard Hinkelmann1, Lena-Marie Kuhlemann2,3, Aaron Smith2, Fred Meier4, Marco P. Maneta5, and Chris Soulsby1,2,6 Mikael Gillefalk et al.
  • 1Chair of Water Resources Management and Modeling of Hydrosystems, Technische Universität Berlin, Gustav-Meyer- Allee 25, 13355 Berlin, Germany
  • 2Department of Ecohydrology, Leibniz Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries, Müggelseedamm 310, 12587 Berlin, Germany
  • 3Department of Geography, Humboldt University of Berlin, Rudower Chaussee 16, 12489 Berlin, Germany
  • 4Chair of Climatology, Technische Universität Berlin, Rothenburgstraße 12, 12165 Berlin Germany
  • 5Regional Hydrology Lab, University of Montana, 32 Campus Dr., MT 59812, Missoula, USA
  • 6Northern Rivers Institute, University of Aberdeen, St. Mary's Building, Kings College, Old Aberdeen, AB24 3UE, Scotland

Abstract. The acceleration of urbanisation requires sustainable, adaptive management strategies for land and water use in cities. Although the effects of buildings and sealed surfaces on urban runoff generation and local climate are well known, much less is known about the role of water partitioning in urban green spaces. In particular, little is quantitatively known about how different vegetation types of urban green spaces (lawns, parks, woodland etc.) regulate partitioning of precipitation into evaporation, transpiration and groundwater recharge; and how this partitioning is affected by sealed surfaces. Here, we integrated field observations with advanced, isotope-based ecohydrological modelling at a plot scale site in Berlin, Germany. Soil moisture, sap flow, together with stable isotopes in precipitation, soil water and groundwater recharge, were measured over the course of one growing season under three generic types of urban green space: trees, shrub and grass. Additionally, an eddy flux tower at the site continuously collected hydroclimate data. These data have been used as input and for calibration of the process-based ecohydrological model EcH2O-iso. The model tracks stable isotope ratios and water ages in various stores (e.g. soils and groundwater) and fluxes (evaporation, transpiration and recharge). Green water fluxes in evapotranspiration increased in the order shrub (381 ± 1 mm) < grass (434 ± 21 mm) < trees (489 ± 30 mm), mainly driven by higher interception and transpiration. Similarly, ages of stored water and fluxes were generally older under trees than shrub or grass. The model also showed how the interface between sealed surfaces and green space creates edge effects in form of “infiltration hot spots”. These can both enhance evapotranspiration and increase groundwater recharge. For example, in our model, transpiration from trees increased by ∼50 % when run-on from an adjacent sealed surface was present and led to groundwater recharge even during the growing season, which was not the case under trees without run-on. The results form an important basis for future upscaling studies by showing that vegetation management needs to be considered within a sustainable water and land use planning in urban areas to build resilience in cities to climatic and other environmental change.

Mikael Gillefalk et al.

Status: open (until 03 Mar 2021)

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Mikael Gillefalk et al.

Mikael Gillefalk et al.

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Short summary
We used a tracer-aided ecohydrological model to quantify water flux-storage-age interactions for three urban vegetation types: Trees, shrub and grass. The model results showed that evapotranspiration increased in the order shrub < grass < trees during one growing season. Additionally, we could show how “infiltration hot-spots” created by runoff from sealed surfaces unto vegetated surfaces can enhance both evapotranspiration and groundwater recharge.
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