Onset of water stress, hysteresis in plant conductance, and hydraulic lift: Scaling soil water dynamics from millimeters to meters
Estimation of water uptake by plants and subsequent water stress are complicated by the need to resolve the soil-plant hydrodynamics at scales ranging from millimeters to meters. Using a simplified homogenization technique, the three-dimensional (3-D) soil water movement dynamics can be reduced to solving two 1-D coupled Richards' equations, one for the radial water movement toward rootlets (mesoscale, important for diurnal cycle) and a second for vertical water motion (macroscale, relevant to interstorm timescales). This approach allows explicit simulation of known features of root uptake such as diurnal hysteresis in canopy conductance, hydraulic lift, and compensatory root water uptake during extended drying cycles. A simple scaling analysis suggests that the effectiveness of the hydraulic lift is mainly controlled by the root vertical distribution, while the soil moisture levels at which hydraulic lift is most effective is dictated by soil hydraulic properties and surrogates for atmospheric water vapor demand. Copyright 2008 by the American Geophysical Union.
Siqueira, M; Katul, G; Porporato, A
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