Modeled changes to the Great Plains low-level jet under a realistic irrigation application.
ABSTRACT: Low-level jets (LLJs) are relatively fast-moving streams of air that form in the lower troposphere and are a common phenomenon across the Great Plains (GP) of the United States. LLJs play an important role in moisture transport and the development of nocturnal convection in the spring and summer. Alterations to surface moisture and energy fluxes can influence the planetary boundary layer (PBL) development and thus LLJs. One important anthropogenic process that has been shown to affect the surface energy budget is irrigation. In this study, we investigate the effects of irrigation on LLJ development across the GP by incorporating a dynamic and realistic irrigation scheme into the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model. WRF simulations were conducted with and without the irrigation scheme for the exceptionally dry summer of 2012 over the GP. The results show irrigation-introduced changes to LLJ features both over and downstream of the most heavily irrigated regions in the GP. There were statistically significant increases to LLJ speeds in the simulation with the irrigation parameterization. Decreases to the mean jet core height on the order of 50 m during the overnight hours were also simulated when irrigation was on. The overall frequency of jet occurrences increased over the irrigated regions by 5-10%; however, these differences were not statistically significant. These changes were weaker than those reported in earlier studies based on simple representations of irrigation that unrealistically saturate the soil columns over large areas over a long period of time, which highlights the importance and necessity to represent human activity more accurately in modeling studies.
Project description:The infiltration of stormwater runoff for use by urban trees is a major co-benefit of green infrastructure for desert cities with limited water resources. However, the effects of this passive irrigation versus regular, controlled moisture inputs, or active irrigation, is largely unquantified. We monitored the ecohydrology of urban mesquite trees (Prosopis spp.) under these contrasting irrigation regimes in semiarid Tucson, AZ. Measurements included soil moisture, sap velocity, canopy greenness, and leaf-area index. We expected both irrigation types to provide additional deep (>20 cm) soil moisture compared to natural conditions, and that trees would depend on this deep moisture for transpiration and phenological activity. Results show that active irrigation supported higher soil moisture throughout the study than passive irrigation. Passive irrigation only provided additional deep moisture when green infrastructure features received impervious runoff from a city street. Sap velocity and greenness were similar under both irrigation types, outside of isolated periods of time. These differences occurred during the extremely wet summer 2017 when passively irrigated trees exhibited a greenness peak, and the dry conditions of spring when actively irrigated trees had higher sap flow and relative greenness. Finally, it was not determined that deep soil moisture had a stronger relationship with mesquite productivity than shallow moisture, but both relationships were stronger in the spring, before summer rains. This study aims to contribute empirical observations of green infrastructure performance for urban watershed management.
Project description:Irrigation increases soil moisture, which in turn controls water and energy fluxes from the land surface to the planetary boundary layer and determines plant stress and productivity. Therefore, developing a realistic representation of irrigation is critical to understanding land-atmosphere interactions in agricultural areas. Irrigation parameterizations are becoming more common in land surface models and are growing in sophistication, but there is difficulty in assessing the realism of these schemes, due to limited observations (e.g., soil moisture, evapotranspiration) and scant reporting of irrigation timing and quantity. This study uses the Noah land surface model run at high resolution within NASA's Land Information System to assess the physics of a sprinkler irrigation simulation scheme and model sensitivity to choice of irrigation intensity and greenness fraction datasets over a small, high resolution domain in Nebraska. Differences between experiments are small at the interannual scale but become more apparent at seasonal and daily time scales. In addition, this study uses point and gridded soil moisture observations from fixed and roving Cosmic Ray Neutron Probes and co-located human practice data to evaluate the realism of irrigation amounts and soil moisture impacts simulated by the model. Results show that field-scale heterogeneity resulting from the individual actions of farmers is not captured by the model and the amount of irrigation applied by the model exceeds that applied at the two irrigated fields. However, the seasonal timing of irrigation and soil moisture contrasts between irrigated and non-irrigated areas are simulated well by the model. Overall, the results underscore the necessity of both high-quality meteorological forcing data and proper representation of irrigation for accurate simulation of water and energy states and fluxes over cropland.
Project description:Lowland meadow irrigation used to be widespread in Central Europe, but has largely been abandoned during the 20th century. As a result of agri-environment schemes and nature conservation efforts, meadow irrigation is now being re-established in some European regions. In the absence of natural flood events, irrigation is expected to favour fauna typical of lowland wet meadows. We analysed the effects of traditional flood irrigation on diversity, densities and species composition of three invertebrate indicator taxa in lowland meadows in Germany. Unexpectedly, alpha diversity (species richness and Simpson diversity) and beta diversity (multivariate homogeneity of group dispersions) of orthopterans, carabids, and spiders were not significantly different between irrigated and non-irrigated meadows. However, spider densities were significantly higher in irrigated meadows. Furthermore, irrigation and elevated humidity affected species composition and shifted assemblages towards moisture-dependent species. The number of species of conservation concern, however, did not differ between irrigated and non-irrigated meadows. More variable and intensive (higher duration and/or frequency) flooding regimes might provide stronger conservation benefits, additional species and enhance habitat heterogeneity on a landscape scale.
Project description:Freshwater resources are scarce in desert regions. Highly saline groundwater of different salinity is being used to drip irrigate the Taklimakan Desert Highway Shelterbelt with a double-branch-pipe system controlling the irrigation cycles. In this study, to evaluate the dynamics of soil moisture and salinity under the current irrigation system, soil samples were collected to a 2-m depth in the shelterbelt planted for different years and irrigated with different groundwater salinities, and soil moisture and salinity were analyzed. The results showed that both depletion of soil moisture and increase of topsoil salinity occurred simultaneously during one irrigation cycle. Soil moisture decreased from 27.4% to 2.4% for a 15-day irrigation cycle and from 26.4% to 2.7% for a 10-day-cycle, respectively. Topsoil electrical conductivity (EC) increased from 0.64 to 3.32 dS/m and 0.70 to 3.99 dS/m for these two irrigation cycles. With increased shelterbelt age, profiled average soil moisture (0-200 cm) reduced from 12.8% (1-year) to 7.1% (10-year); however, soil moisture in 0-20-cm increased, while topsoil salinity decreased. In addition, irrigation salinity mainly affected soil salinity in the 0-20-cm range. We conclude that water supply with the double-branch-pipe is a feasible irrigation method for the Taklimakan Desert Highway Shelterbelt, and our findings provide a model for shelterbelt construction and sustainable management when using highly saline water for irrigation in analogous habitats.
Project description:Water tables are dropping by approximately one meter annually throughout the North China Plain mainly due to water withdrawals for irrigating winter wheat year after year. In order to examine whether the drawdown can be reduced we calculate the net water use for an 11 year field experiment from 2003 to 2013 where six irrigated crops (winter wheat, summer maize, cotton, peanuts, sweet potato, ryegrass) were grown in different crop rotations in the North China Plain. As part of this experiment moisture contents were measured each at 20 cm intervals in the top 1.8 m. Recharge and net water use were calculated based on these moisture measurement. Results showed that winter wheat and ryegrass had the least recharge with an average of 27 mm/year and 39 mm/year, respectively; cotton had the most recharge with an average of 211 mm/year) followed by peanuts with 118 mm/year, sweet potato with 76 mm/year, and summer maize with 44 mm/year. Recharge depended on the amount of irrigation water pumped from the aquifer and was therefore a poor indicator of future groundwater decline. Instead net water use (recharge minus irrigation) was found to be a good indicator for the decline of the water table. The smallest amount of net (ground water) used was cotton with an average of 14 mm/year, followed by peanut with 32 mm/year, summer maize with 71 mm/year, sweet potato with 74 mm/year. Winter wheat and ryegrass had the greatest net water use with the average of 198 mm/year and 111 mm/year, respectively. Our calculations showed that any single crop would use less water than the prevalent winter wheat summer maize rotation. This growing one crop instead of two will reduce the decline of groundwater and in some rain rich years increase the ground water level, but will result in less income for the farmers.
Project description:The Upper Missouri River headwaters (UMH) basin (36 400 km2) depends on its river corridors to support irrigated agriculture and world-class trout fisheries. We evaluated trends (1984–2016) in riparian wetness, an indicator of the riparian condition, in peak irrigation months (June, July and August) for 158 km2 of riparian area across the basin using the Landsat normalized difference wetness index (NDWI). We found that 8 of the 19 riparian reaches across the basin showed a significant drying trend over this period, including all three basin outlet reaches along the Jefferson, Madison and Gallatin rivers. The influence of upstream climate was quantified using per reach random forest regressions. Much of the interannual variability in the NDWI was explained by climate, especially by drought indices and annual precipitation, but the significant temporal drying trends persisted in the NDWI–climate model residuals, indicating that trends were not entirely attributable to climate. Over the same period we documented a basin-wide shift from 9 % of agriculture irrigated with center-pivot irrigation to 50 % irrigated with center-pivot irrigation. Riparian reaches with a drying trend had a greater increase in the total area with center-pivot irrigation (within reach and upstream from the reach) relative to riparian reaches without such a trend (p < 0.05). The drying trend, however, did not extend to river discharge. Over the same period, stream gages (n = 7) showed a positive correlation with riparian wetness (p < 0.05) but no trend in summer river discharge, suggesting that riparian areas may be more sensitive to changes in irrigation return flows relative to river discharge. Identifying trends in riparian vegetation is a critical precursor for enhancing the resiliency of river systems and associated riparian corridors.
Project description:Freshwater scarcity and regulations on wastewater disposal have necessitated the reuse of treated wastewater (TWW) for soil irrigation, which has several environmental and economic benefits. However, TWW irrigation can cause nutrient loading to the receiving environments. We assessed bacterial community structure and associated biogeochemical changes in soil plots irrigated with nitrate-rich TWW (referred to as pivots) for periods ranging from 13 to 30 years. Soil cores (0 to 40 cm) were collected in summer and winter from five irrigated pivots and three adjacently located nonirrigated plots. Total bacterial and denitrifier gene abundances were estimated by quantitative PCR (qPCR), and community structure was assessed by 454 massively parallel tag sequencing (MPTS) of small-subunit (SSU) rRNA genes along with terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism (T-RFLP) analysis of nirK, nirS, and nosZ functional genes responsible for denitrification of the TWW-associated nitrate. Soil physicochemical analyses showed that, regardless of the seasons, pH and moisture contents (MC) were higher in the irrigated (IR) pivots than in the nonirrigated (NIR) plots; organic matter (OM) and microbial biomass carbon (MBC) were higher as a function of season but not of irrigation treatment. MPTS analysis showed that TWW loading resulted in the following: (i) an increase in the relative abundance of Proteobacteria, especially Betaproteobacteria and Gammaproteobacteria; (ii) a decrease in the relative abundance of Actinobacteria; (iii) shifts in the communities of acidobacterial groups, along with a shift in the nirK and nirS denitrifier guilds as shown by T-RFLP analysis. Additionally, bacterial biomass estimated by genus/group-specific real-time qPCR analyses revealed that higher numbers of total bacteria, Acidobacteria, Actinobacteria, Alphaproteobacteria, and the nirS denitrifier guilds were present in the IR pivots than in the NIR plots. Identification of the nirK-containing microbiota as a proxy for the denitrifier community indicated that bacteria belonged to alphaproteobacteria from the Rhizobiaceae family within the agroecosystem studied. Multivariate statistical analyses further confirmed some of the above soil physicochemical and bacterial community structure changes as a function of long-term TWW application within this agroecosystem.
Project description:The Inland Pacific Northwest (IPNW) encompasses 1. 6 million cropland hectares and is a major wheat-producing area in the western United States. The climate throughout the region is semi-arid, making the availability of water a significant challenge for IPNW agriculture. Much attention has been given to uncovering the effects of water stress on the physiology of wheat and the dynamics of its soilborne diseases. In contrast, the impact of soil moisture on the establishment and activity of microbial communities in the rhizosphere of dryland wheat remains poorly understood. We addressed this gap by conducting a three-year field study involving wheat grown in adjacent irrigated and dryland (rainfed) plots established in Lind, Washington State. We used deep amplicon sequencing of the V4 region of the 16S rRNA to characterize the responses of the wheat rhizosphere microbiome to overhead irrigation. We also characterized the population dynamics and activity of indigenous Phz+ rhizobacteria that produce the antibiotic phenazine-1-carboxylic acid (PCA) and contribute to the natural suppression of soilborne pathogens of wheat. Results of the study revealed that irrigation affected the Phz+ rhizobacteria adversely, which was evident from the significantly reduced plant colonization frequency, population size and levels of PCA in the field. The observed differences between irrigated and dryland plots were reproducible and amplified over the course of the study, thus identifying soil moisture as a critical abiotic factor that influences the dynamics, and activity of indigenous Phz+ communities. The three seasons of irrigation had a slight effect on the overall diversity within the rhizosphere microbiome but led to significant differences in the relative abundances of specific OTUs. In particular, irrigation differentially affected multiple groups of Bacteroidetes and Proteobacteria, including taxa with known plant growth-promoting activity. Analysis of environmental variables revealed that the separation between irrigated and dryland treatments was due to changes in the water potential (?m) and pH. In contrast, the temporal changes in the composition of the rhizosphere microbiome correlated with temperature and precipitation. In summary, our long-term study provides insights into how the availability of water in a semi-arid agroecosystem shapes the belowground wheat microbiome.
Project description:Dryland agriculture nourishes one third of global population, although crop irrigation is often mandatory. As freshwater sources are scarce, treated and untreated wastewater is increasingly used for irrigation. Here, we investigated how the transformation of semiarid shrubland into rainfed farming or irrigated agriculture with freshwater, dam-stored or untreated wastewater affects the total (DNA-based) and active (RNA-based) soil bacterial community composition, diversity, and functionality. To do this we collected soil samples during the dry and rainy seasons and isolated DNA and RNA. Soil moisture, sodium content and pH were the strongest drivers of the bacterial community composition. We found lineage-specific adaptations to drought and sodium content in specific land use systems. Predicted functionality profiles revealed gene abundances involved in nitrogen, carbon and phosphorous cycles differed among land use systems and season. Freshwater irrigated bacterial community is taxonomically and functionally susceptible to seasonal environmental changes, while wastewater irrigated ones are taxonomically susceptible but functionally resistant to them. Additionally, we identified potentially harmful human and phytopathogens. The analyses of 16?S rRNA genes, its transcripts and deduced functional profiles provided extensive understanding of the short-term and long-term responses of bacterial communities associated to land use, seasonality, and water quality used for irrigation in drylands.
Project description:Migratory bird populations are often limited by food during the non-breeding season. Correlative evidence suggests that food abundance on territories varies among years in relation to rainfall, which affects plant productivity and arthropod biomass. At the Font Hill Nature Preserve in Jamaica, we used an irrigation experiment to test the hypothesis that rainfall affects the condition of wintering American redstarts (Setophaga ruticilla) via intermediate effects on plant productivity and arthropod abundance. Experimental plots were irrigated in late February and early March to simulate a mid-season pulse of 200 mm of rain. Irrigation maintained soil moisture levels near saturation and had immediate effects on plant productivity. Cumulative leaf abscission over the dry season was 50% lower on experimental plots resulting in greater canopy cover, and we observed significantly higher ground level shoot growth and the flushing of new leaves on about 58% of logwood (Haematoxylon campechianum) individuals. Arthropod biomass was 1.5 times higher on irrigated plots, but there was considerable inter-plot variability within a treatment and a strong seasonal decline in biomass. Consequently, we found no significant effect of irrigation on arthropod abundance or redstart condition. We suspect that the lack of an irrigation effect for taxa higher on the trophic chain was due to the small spatial scale of the treatment relative to the scale at which these taxa operate. Although redstart condition was not affected, we did observe turnover from subordinate to dominant territorial individuals on experimental plots suggesting a perceived difference in habitat quality that influenced individual behavior.