Evapotranspiration (ET) continues to be a difficult process to estimate in seasonal and long-term water balances in catchment models. Approaches to estimate ET typically use vegetation parameters (e.g., leaf area index [LAI], interception capacity) obtained from field observation, remote sensing data, national or global land cover products, and/or simulated by ecosystem models. In this study we attempt to quantify the uncertainty that spatial evapotranspiration estimation introduces into hydrological simulations when the age of the forest is not precisely known. The Penn State Integrated Hydrologic Model (PIHM) was implemented for the Lysina headwater catchment, located 50°03′N, 12°40′E in the western part of the Czech Republic. The spatial forest patterns were digitized from forest age maps made available by the Czech Forest Administration. Two ET methods were implemented in the catchment model: the Biome-BGC forest growth sub-model (1-way coupled to PIHM) and with the fixed-seasonal LAI method. From these two approaches simulation scenarios were developed. We combined the estimated spatial forest age maps and two ET estimation methods to drive PIHM. A set of spatial hydrologic regime and streamflow regime indices were calculated from the modeling results for each method. Intercomparison of the hydrological responses to the spatial vegetation patterns suggested considerable variation in soil moisture and recharge and a small uncertainty in the groundwater table elevation and streamflow. The hydrologic modeling with ET estimated by Biome-BGC generated less uncertainty due to the plant physiology-based method. The implication of this research is that overall hydrologic variability induced by uncertain management practices was reduced by implementing vegetation models in the catchment models.
Yu, Xuan, Anna Lamačová, Christopher J. Duffy, Pavel Krám, Jakub Hruška (2015): Hydrological model uncertainty due to spatial evapotranspiration estimation methods. Computers & Geosciences, 90, 90–101. DOI: 10.1016/j.cageo.2015.05.006