Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-2024-465
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-2024-465
12 Mar 2024
 | 12 Mar 2024
Status: this preprint is open for discussion.

Relevance of feedbacks between water availability and crop systems using a coupled hydrology – crop growth model

Sneha Chevuru, Rens L. P. H. van Beek, Michelle T. H. van Vliet, Jerom P. M. Aerts, and Marc F. P. Bierkens

Abstract. Individual hydrological and crop growth models often oversimplify underlying processes, reducing the accuracy of both simulated hydrology and crop growth dynamics. While crop models tend to generalize soil moisture processes, most hydrological models commonly use constant vegetation parameters and prescribed phenologies, neglecting the dynamic nature of crop growth. Despite some studies that have coupled hydrological and crop models, a limited understanding exists regarding the feedbacks between hydrology and crop growth. Our objective is to quantify the feedback between crop systems and hydrology on a fine-grained spatio-temporal level. To this end, the PCR-GLOBWB 2 hydrological model was coupled with the WOFOST crop growth model to quantify both the one-way and two-way interactions between hydrology and crop growth on a daily timestep and at 5 arc minutes (~10 km) resolution. Our study spans the Contiguous United States (CONUS) region and covers the period from 1979 to 2019, allowing a comprehensive evaluation of the feedback between hydrology and crop growth dynamics. We compare individual (stand-alone) as well as one-way and two-way coupled WOFOST and PCR-GLOBWB 2 model runs and evaluate the average crop yield and its interannual variability for rainfed and irrigated crops as well as simulated irrigation water withdrawal for maize, wheat and soybean. Our results reveal distinct patterns in the temporal and spatial variation of crop yield depending on the included interactions between hydrology and crop systems. Evaluating the model results against reported yield and water use data demonstrates the efficacy of the coupled framework in replicating observed irrigated and rainfed crop yields. Our results show that two-way coupling, with its dynamic feedback mechanisms, outperforms one-way coupling for rainfed crops. This improved performance stems from the feedback of WOFOST crop phenology to the crop parameters in the hydrological model. Our results suggest that when crop models are combined with hydrological models, a two-way coupling is needed to capture the impact of interannual climate variability on food production.

Sneha Chevuru, Rens L. P. H. van Beek, Michelle T. H. van Vliet, Jerom P. M. Aerts, and Marc F. P. Bierkens

Status: open (until 17 May 2024)

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Sneha Chevuru, Rens L. P. H. van Beek, Michelle T. H. van Vliet, Jerom P. M. Aerts, and Marc F. P. Bierkens
Sneha Chevuru, Rens L. P. H. van Beek, Michelle T. H. van Vliet, Jerom P. M. Aerts, and Marc F. P. Bierkens

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Short summary
This paper integrates PCR-GLOBWB 2 hydrological model with WOFOST crop growth model to analyze mutual feedbacks between hydrology and crop growth. It quantifies one-way and two-way feedbacks between hydrology and crop growth, revealing patterns in crop yield and irrigation water use. Dynamic interactions enhance understanding of climate variability impacts on food production, highlighting the importance of two-way model coupling for accurate assessments.