TITLE

Irrigation increases moisture recycling and climate feedback

AUTHOR(S)
Vervoort, R. W.; Torfs, P. J. J. F.; van Ogtrop, F. F.
PUB. DATE
December 2009
SOURCE
Australian Journal of Water Resources;2009, Vol. 13 Issue 2, p121
SOURCE TYPE
Academic Journal
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
Existing research in soil moisture atmosphere feedback's suggests that large irrigation areas are likely to have an impact on local precipitation, due to increased levels of soil moisture. However, some of the past research attempting to prove this has been inconclusive. Using a simplified analytical model, the influence of different land uses, climatic conditions and length scales of irrigation areas is investigated to identify when such effects have an impact on local precipitation. The results indicate a modest recycling ratio of about 10- 20% from irrigated areas, but this is governed by the length scale of the irrigation area, the magnitude of the externally derived precipitation and the magnitude of the atmospheric moisture flux. This suggests irrigation areas only modestly intensify the continental water balance. In contrast, recycling coefficients of oceanic moisture are found to be much higher for Australia (around 95%) as lateral oceanic moisture fluxes are low at the continental scale, indicating much stronger feedback. However, this is governed by the scale of analysis. At the local scale, overall atmospheric moisture fluxes are higher, resulting in lower feedback. In addition, the moisture feedback varies between wet and dry years, with stronger effects in wetter years when external moisture supply is higher. This variation explains the lack of clearly observed increases in irrigation induced precipitation in field studies.
ACCESSION #
60015607

 

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