Advanced Evapotranspiration Measurement for Crop Water Management in the Red River Valley
Niaghi, Ali Rashid
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As the main component of terrestrial energy and water balance, evapotranspiration (ET) moves a large amount of water and energy in the form of latent heat flux from bare soil and vegetated surfaces into the atmosphere. Despite the development of many methods and equations through past decades, accurate ET estimation is still a challenging task, especially for the Red River Valley of the North (RRV) that has limited updated information on ET either for landscape or agricultural water management. The overall objective of first study was to evaluate the ASCE-EWRI reference ET (ETo) method by developing an accurate crop coefficient (Kc) using an eddy covariance (EC) system over an unirrigated turfgrass site. The results showed that with mean ETgrass/ETo ratio as 0.96 for the entire growing seasons of turfgrass, the ASCE-EWRI ETo method is valid for guiding the turfgrass irrigation management in cold climate conditions. In a Controlled drainage with subirrigation (CD+SI) field, an EC system was used to measure and quantify energy flux components along with soil water content (SWC) and water table depth (WTD) measurements during four corn growing. This study showed that the subsurface drainage along with the CD + SI system can be used for optimal water management with an improvement of 26.7% and 6.6% of corn yield during wet and dry year, respectively. For the final task, ET was measured using EC, Bowen ratio system (BREB), and soil water balance (SWB) method during the corn growing season. The comparison of the EC and the BREB system illustrated the advantages of using the residual method to close the energy balance closure of EC. Among the different time approaches for SWB method, ET by the SWB method using the average soil water contents between 24:00 to 2:00 time period showed non-significant differences (alpha = 0.05) compared to the BREB system during the observation periods.