Infoscience

Student project

# BIOPHYSICAL CONTROLS ON EVAPOTRANSPIRATION: NUMERICAL MODELS AND EXPERIMENTAL OBSERVATIONS

Water and food are basics of human life, unfortunately climate changes and water pollution have reduced the amount of water available for human uses. In this context the study of the hydrologic cycle is becoming of growing importance in order to optimize the anthropogenic exploitation of water resource. Evapotranspiration is the term used to describe the part of the water cycle which removes liquid water from an area with vegetation into the atmosphere by the processes of both transpiration and evaporation. Evapotranspiration is an important part of the hydrologic cycle because it represents a considerable percentage of water losses in watersheds. This process is also one of the main consumers of solar energy at the Earth's surface. The estimation of evapotranspiration it is of great importance for agriculture and water resources management, for example, by knowing the rate of water loss from a region, farmers will be better placed to efficiently manage the irrigation strategies. The rate of evapotranspiration at any location on the Earth's surface is controlled by several factors such as energy availability, humidity gradient, wind speed immediately above the surface, water availability, type of vegetation, stomatal resistance and soil characteristics. The problem of estimating evapotranspiration has been widely studied. During the past several decades, different approaches have been proposed and many formulas are available in the literature to fulfill this task. The complexity of the phenomena and its great variability all over the world make difficult to find a universal and robust method for the evapotranspiration prediction and estimation. Evapotranspiration can be obtained by many estimation methods. Some of these methods need many weather parameters as inputs while others need fewer. Factors such as data availability, the intended use, and the time scale required by the problem must be considered when choosing the evapotranspiration calculation technique. The Penman-Monteith equation was derived from the classic Penman equation adding to the terms already considered in the Penman formulation (aerodynamic resistance and energy balance) the canopy resistance. This approach requires many meteorological data, such as maximum and minimum air temperatures, relative humidity, solar radiation, and wind speed. If some of these data are not available, alternative techniques have been developed to overcome this drawback. However, this estimations of meteorological data affect the quality of the result, alternatively, in such cases other simpler methods may be used. The Penman-Monteitu equation is assumed to be the most reliable because is based on physical principles and because it considers all the climatic factors, which affect evapotranspiration.

Keywords: evapotranspiration

#### Reference

• EPFL-STUDENT-203602

Record created on 2014-12-01, modified on 2016-08-09