02 Nov 2021
02 Nov 2021
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal HESS.

Lysimeter based evaporation and condensation dynamics in a Mediterranean ecosystem

Sinikka Paulus1, Tarek S. El-Madany1, René Orth1, Anke Hildebrandt2,3, Thomas Wutzler1, Arnaud Carrara4, Gerardo Moreno5, Oscar Perez-Priego6, Olaf Kolle1, Markus Reichstein1, and Mirco Migliavacca1,a Sinikka Paulus et al.
  • 1Max Planck Institute of Biogeochemistry, Jena, Germany
  • 2Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research - UFZ, Department Computational Hydrosystems, Leipzig, Germany
  • 3Friedrich-Schiller University, Group Terrestrial Ecohydrology, Jena, Germany
  • 4Fundacion Centro de Estudios Ambientales del Mediterraneo, Valencia, Spain
  • 5Universidad de Extremadura, INDEHESA - Institute for Silvopastoralism Research, Plasencia , Spain
  • 6Universidad de Córdoba, Department of Forestry Engineering, Córdoba, Spain
  • anow at: European Commission Joint Research Centre, via E. Fermi 2479, Ispra, Italy

Abstract. The input of liquid water to terrestrial ecosystems is composed of rain and non-rainfall water input (NRWI). The latter comprises dew, fog, and adsorption of atmospheric vapor on soil particle surfaces. Although NRWIs can be relevant to support ecosystem functioning in seasonally dry ecosystems, they are understudied, being relatively small, and therefore hard to measure. In this study, we test a routine for analyzing lysimeter data specifically to determine NRWI. We apply it on one year of data from large high-precision weighing lysimeters at a semi-arid Mediterranean site and quantify that NRWIs occur for at least 3 h on 297 days (81 % of the year) with a mean diel duration of 6 hours. They reflect a pronounced seasonality as modulated by environmental conditions (i.e., temperature and net radiation). During the wet season, both dew and fog dominate NRWI, while during the dry season it is soil adsorption of atmospheric vapor. Although NRWI contributes only 7.4 % to the annual water input NRWI is the only water input to the ecosystem during 15 weeks, mainly in the dry season. Benefitting from the comprehensive set of measurements at the Majadas instrumental site, we show that our findings are in line with (i) independent model simulations forced with (near-) surface energy and moisture measurements and (ii) eddy covariance-derived latent heat flux estimates. This study shows that NRWI can be reliably quantified through high-resolution weighing lysimeters and a few additional measurements. Their main occurrence during night-time underlines the necessity to consider ecosystem water fluxes at high temporal resolution and with 24-hour coverage.

Sinikka Paulus et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on hess-2021-519', Anonymous Referee #1, 19 Nov 2021
    • AC3: 'Reply on RC1', Sinikka Paulus, 04 Mar 2022
  • RC2: 'Comment on hess-2021-519', Giora J. Kidron, 15 Dec 2021
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC2', Sinikka Paulus, 04 Mar 2022
  • RC3: 'Interesting and relevant manuscript, but requires some moderate revisions before acceptance', Werner Eugster, 28 Dec 2021
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC3', Sinikka Paulus, 04 Mar 2022

Sinikka Paulus et al.

Sinikka Paulus et al.


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Short summary
In this study, we analyze small inputs of water to ecosystems such as fog, dew, and adsorption of vapor. To measure them, we use a scaling system and later test our attribution of different water fluxes to weight changes. We found that they occur frequently during one year in a summer-dry ecosystem. Each season, a different flux seems dominant, but they all mainly occur during the night. Therefore, they could be important for the biosphere because rain is unevenly distributed over the year.