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Stem-root flow effect on soil–atmosphere interactions and uncertainty assessments

  • Author(s): Kuo, T-H
  • Chen, J-P
  • Xue, Y
  • et al.

Abstract. Soil water can rapidly enter deeper layers via vertical redistribution of soil water through the stem–root flow mechanism. This study develops the stem–root flow parameterization scheme and coupled this scheme with the Simplified Simple Biosphere model (SSiB) to analyze its effects on land–atmospheric interactions. The SSiB model was tested in a single column mode using the Lien Hua Chih (LHC) measurements conducted in Taiwan and HAPEX-Mobilhy (HAPEX) measurements in France. The results show that stem–root flow generally caused a decrease in the moisture content at the top soil layer and moistened the deeper soil layers. Such soil moisture redistribution results in significant changes in heat flux exchange between land and atmosphere. In the humid environment at LHC, the stem–root flow effect on transpiration was minimal, and the main influence on energy flux was through reduced soil evaporation that led to higher soil temperature and greater sensible heat flux. In the Mediterranean environment of HAPEX, the stem–root flow significantly affected plant transpiration and soil evaporation, as well as associated changes in canopy and soil temperatures. However, the effect on transpiration could either be positive or negative depending on the relative changes in the moisture content of the top soil vs. deeper soil layers due to stem–root flow and soil moisture diffusion processes.

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