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Hydrology and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2019-45
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2019-45
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 05 Feb 2019

Research article | 05 Feb 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. A revision of this manuscript was accepted for the journal Hydrology and Earth System Sciences (HESS) and is expected to appear here in due course.

Modeling forest evapotranspiration and water balance at stand and catchment scales: a spatial approach

Samuli Launiainen1, Mingfu Guan2,1, Aura Salmivaara1, and Antti-Jussi Kieloaho1 Samuli Launiainen et al.
  • 1Nature Resources Institute Finland, Latokartanonkaari 9, 00790 Helsinki, Finland
  • 2Department of Civil Engineering, The University of Hong Kong, HKSAR, China

Abstract. Vegetation is known to have strong influence on evapotranspiration (ET), a major component of terrestrial water balance. Yet hydrological models often describe ET by methods unable to sufficiently include the variability of vegetation characteristics in their predictions. To take advantage of increasing availability of high-resolution open GIS-data on land use, vegetation and soil characteristics in the boreal zone, a modular, spatially distributed model for upscaling ET and other hydrological processes from a grid cell to a catchment level is presented and validated. An improved approach to upscale stomatal conductance to canopy scale using information on plant type (conifer / deciduous) and stand leaf-area index (LAI) is proposed by coupling a common leaf-scale stomatal conductance model with a simple canopy radiation transfer scheme. Further, a generic parametrization for vegetation and snow-related hydrological processes for Nordic boreal forests is derived based on literature and data from a boreal FluxNet site. With the generic parametrization, the model was shown to well reproduce daily ET measured by eddy-covariance technique at ten conifer-dominated Nordic forests whose LAI ranged from 0.2 to 6.8 m2 m−2. Topography, soil and vegetation properties at 21 small boreal headwater catchments in Finland were derived from open GIS-data at 16 x 16 m grid size to upscale water balance from a stand to catchment level. The predictions of annual ET and specific discharge were successful in all catchments, located from 60 to 68° N, and daily discharge also reasonably well predicted by calibrating only one parameter against discharge data measurements. The role of vegetation heterogeneity on soil moisture and partitioning of ET was demonstrated. The proposed approach can support e.g. in forest trafficability forecasting and predicting the impacts of climate change and forest management on stand and catchment water balance. With appropriate parametrization it can be generalized outside the boreal coniferous forests.

Samuli Launiainen et al.
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Interactive discussion
Status: closed
Status: closed
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Samuli Launiainen et al.
Samuli Launiainen et al.
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Short summary
Boreal forest evapotranspiration and water cycle is modeled using physiological and physical principles, open spatial data sources and daily weather data. The approach can predict daily transpiration rate and ground evaporation rate reasonably well across Nordic coniferous forests. Furthermore, the model successfully predicts daily streamflow and annual evapotranspiration across boreal headwater catchments in Finland. The model is simple and designed for practical applications over large areas.
Boreal forest evapotranspiration and water cycle is modeled using physiological and physical...
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