Quantification of evapotranspiration (ET) and its partition over regions of heterogeneous topography and canopy poses a challenge using traditional approaches. In this study, we report the results of a novel field experiment design guided by the Maximum Entropy Production model of ET (MEP-ET), formulated for estimating evaporation and transpiration from homogeneous soil and canopy. A catchment with complex terrain and patchy vegetation in South Australia was instrumented to measure temperature, humidity and net radiation at soil and canopy surfaces. Performance of the MEP-ET model to quantify transpiration and soil evaporation was evaluated during wet and dry conditions with independently and directly measured transpiration from sapflow and soil evaporation using the Bowen Ratio Energy Balance (BREB). MEP-ET transpiration shows remarkable agreement with that obtained through sapflow measurements during wet conditions, but consistently overestimates the flux during dry periods. However, an additional term introduced to the original MEP-ET model accounting for higher stomatal regulation during dry spells, based on differences between leaf and air vapor pressure deficits and temperatures, significantly improves the model performance. On the other hand, MEP-ET soil evaporation is in good agreement with that from BREB regardless of moisture conditions. The experimental design allows a plot and tree scale quantification of evaporation and transpiration respectively. This study confirms for the first time that the MEP-ET originally developed for homogeneous open bare soil and closed canopy can be used for modeling ET over heterogeneous land surfaces. Furthermore, we show that with the addition of an empirical function simulating the plants ability to regulate transpiration, and based on the same measurements of temperature and humidity, the method can produce reliable estimates of ET during both wet and dry conditions without compromising its parsimony.
Gutierrez-Jurado, H.A., H. Guan, J. Wang, H. Wang, R.L. Bras, and C.T. Simmons (2015): Maximum Entropy Production modeling of evapotranspiration partitioning on heterogeneous terrain and canopy cover: advantages and limitations. American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, San Francisco, CA, December, 2015.
This Paper/Book acknowledges NSF CZO grant support.