skip to main content


Title: Sensitivity of transpiration to subsurface properties: Exploration with a 1-D model

The amount of moisture transpired by vegetation is critically tied to the moisture supply accessible to the root zone. In a Mediterranean climate, integrated evapotranspiration (ET) is typically greater in the dry summer when there is an uninterrupted period of high insolation. We present a 1-D model to explore the subsurface factors that may sustain ET through the dry season. The model includes a stochastic parameterization of hydraulic conductivity, root water uptake efficiency, and hydraulic redistribution by plant roots. Model experiments vary the precipitation, the magnitude and seasonality of ET demand, as well as rooting profiles and rooting depths of the vegetation. The results show that the amount of subsurface moisture remaining at the end of the wet winter is determined by the competition among abundant precipitation input, fast infiltration, and winter ET demand. The weathered bedrock retains math formula of the winter rain and provides a substantial moisture reservoir that may sustain ET of deep-rooted (>8 m) trees through the dry season. A small negative feedback exists in the root zone, where the depletion of moisture by ET decreases hydraulic conductivity and enhances the retention of moisture. Hence, hydraulic redistribution by plant roots is impactful in a dry season,more » or with a less conductive subsurface. Suggestions for implementing the model in the CESM are discussed.« less
ORCiD logo [1] ; ORCiD logo [2]
  1. Univ. of California, Berkeley, CA (United States). Dept. of Earth and Planetary Science; Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), Rutherford Appleton Lab. (United Kingdom). Central Laser Facility
  2. Univ. of California, Berkeley, CA (United States). Dept. of Earth and Planetary Science
Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
SC0010857; SC0014080
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 9; Journal Issue: 2; Journal ID: ISSN 1942-2466
American Geophysical Union (AGU)
Research Org:
Univ. of California, Berkeley, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC)
Country of Publication:
United States
OSTI Identifier: