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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Coupling DSSAT and HYDRUS-1D for simulations of soil water dynamics in the soil-plant-atmosphere system

  • Author(s): Shelia, Vakhtang
  • Šimůnek, Jirka
  • Boote, Ken
  • Hoogenbooom, Gerrit
  • et al.

AbstractAccurate estimation of the soil water balance of the soil-plant-atmosphere system is key to determining the availability of water resources and their optimal management. Evapotranspiration and leaching are the main sinks of water from the system affecting soil water status and hence crop yield. The accuracy of soil water content and evapotranspiration simulations affects crop yield simulations as well. DSSAT is a suite of field-scale, process-based crop models to simulate crop growth and development. A “tipping bucket” water balance approach is currently used in DSSAT for soil hydrologic and water redistribution processes. By comparison, HYDRUS-1D is a hydrological model to simulate water flow in soils using numerical solutions of the Richards equation, but its approach to crop-related process modeling is rather limited. Both DSSAT and HYDRUS-1D have been widely used and tested in their separate areas of use. The objectives of our study were: (1) to couple HYDRUS-1D with DSSAT to simulate soil water dynamics, crop growth and yield, (2) to evaluate the coupled model using field experimental datasets distributed with DSSAT for different environments, and (3) to compare HYDRUS-1D simulations with those of the tipping bucket approach using the same datasets. Modularity in the software design of both DSSAT and HYDRUS-1D made it easy to couple the two models. The pairing provided the DSSAT interface an ability to use both the tipping bucket and HYDRUS-1D simulation approaches. The two approaches were evaluated in terms of their ability to estimate the soil water balance, especially soil water contents and evapotranspiration rates. Values of thedindex for volumetric water contents were 0.9 and 0.8 for the original and coupled models, respectively. Comparisons of simulations for the pod mass for four soybean and four peanut treatments showed relatively highdindex values for both models (0.94–0.99).

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