Plants are able to adapt to changing environments and thus survive droughts. However, most land surface models produce unrealistically low ecosystem resiliency to droughts, degrading the credibility of the model-predicted ecohydrological responses to climate change. We aim to enhance the Noah-MP modeled ecosystem resilience to droughts with an explicit representation of plant water storage supplied by dynamic root water uptake through hydrotropic root growth to meet the transpiration demand. The new model represents plant stomatal water stress factor as a function of the plant water storage and relates the rate of root water uptake to the profile of model-predicted root surface area. Through optimization of major leaf, root, and soil parameters, the new model improves the prediction of leaf area index, ecosystem productivity, evapotranspiration, and terrestrial water storage variations over most basins in the contiguous United States. Sensitivity experiments suggest that both dynamic root water uptake and groundwater capillary rise extend the plants' “memory” of antecedent rainfall. The modeled plants enhance their efficiency to use antecedent rain water stored in shallow soils mainly through more efficient root water uptake over the U.S. Southwest drylands while use that stored in deep soils and aquifers with the aid of groundwater capillary rise in the Central United States. Future plant hydraulic models should not ignore soil water retention model uncertainties and the soil macropore effects on soil water potential and infiltration.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Global and Planetary Change
- Environmental Chemistry
- Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)