02 Nov 2022
 | 02 Nov 2022
Status: a revised version of this preprint is currently under review for the journal HESS.

Measuring evapotranspiration on an eroded cropland by an automated and mobile chamber system: gap filling strategies and impact of soil type and topsoil removal

Adrian Dahlmann, Mathias Hoffmann, Gernot Verch, Marten Schmidt, Michael Sommer, Jürgen Augustin, and Maren Dubbert

Abstract. In light of ongoing global climate crisis and related increases in extreme hydrological events, it is increasingly crucial to assess ecosystem resilience and - in agricultural systems - to ensure sustainable management and food security. For that, comprehensive understanding of ecosystem water cycle budgets and spatio-temporal dynamics are indispensable. Evapotranspiration (ET) plays a pivotal role returning up to 90 % of ingoing precipitation back to the atmosphere. Here, we studied impacts of soil types and management on an agroecosystems water budgets and agronomic water use efficiencies (WUEagro). To do so, a plot experiment with winter rye (September 17, 2020 to June 30, 2021) was conducted at an eroded cropland which is located in the hilly and dry ground moraine landscape of the Uckermark region in NE Germany. Along the experimental plot (110 m x 16 m), a gantry crane mounted mobile and automated two chamber system (FluxCrane as part of the AgroFlux platform within the CarboZALF-D research site) was used to continuously determine evapotranspiration for the first time. Three soil types representing the full soil erosion gradient related to the hummocky ground moraine landscape (extremely eroded: Calcaric Regosol, strongly eroded: Nudiargic Luvisol, non-eroded: Calcic Luvisol) and additional soil manipulation (topsoil removal and subsoil admixture) were investigated (randomized block design, 3 replicates per treatment). Five different gap-filling approaches were used and compared in light of their potential for reliable water budgets over the entire crop growth period as well as reproduce short-term (day-to-day, diurnal) water flux dynamics. The best calibration performance was achieved with approaches based on machine learning, such as support vector machine (SVM) and artificial neural networks (with Bayesian regularization; ANN_BR), while especially SVM yielded in best predictions of measured ET during validation.

We found significant differences in dry biomass (DM) and minor in evapotranspiration between soil types, resulting in different water use efficiencies (WUEagro). The Calcaric Regosol (extremely eroded) shows a maximum of around 37 % lower evapotranspiration and a maximum of around 52 % lower water use efficiency (WUEagro) compared to the non-eroded Calcic Luvisol. The key period contributing to ~ 70 % of overall ET of the entire growth period was from April until harvest, however differences in the overall ET budget (ETsum) between soil types and manipulation resulted predominantly from small long-term differences between the treatments over the entire growth period.

Adrian Dahlmann 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-2022-323', Anonymous Referee #1, 19 Nov 2022
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Adrian Dahlmann, 02 Feb 2023
  • RC2: 'Comment on hess-2022-323', Anonymous Referee #2, 16 Dec 2022
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC2', Adrian Dahlmann, 02 Feb 2023

Adrian Dahlmann et al.

Adrian Dahlmann et al.


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Short summary
In light of ongoing global climate crisis, it is crucial to understand the ecosystem water cycle. Evapotranspiration plays a pivotal role, returning up to 90 % of precipitation to the atmosphere. We studied impacts of soil type and management on an agroecosystem using an automated system coupled with modern gap-filling approaches. We were able to calculate ET in a high spatial and temporal resolution and found significant differences between yield and smaller differences in evapotranspiration.