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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Columbia, Missouri » Cropping Systems and Water Quality Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #344170

Research Project: Long-term Management of Water Resources in the Central Mississippi River Basin

Location: Cropping Systems and Water Quality Research

Title: Hydrologic budgets across the Long-Term Agroecosystems Research network

item Baffaut, Claire
item BROOKS, ERIN - University Of Idaho
item Pierson Jr, Frederick
item Demaria, Eleonora
item Goodrich, David - Dave
item Elias, Emile
item Hoover, David
item Liebig, Mark

Submitted to: ASA-CSSA-SSSA Annual Meeting Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/10/2017
Publication Date: 10/22/2017
Citation: Baffaut, C., Brooks, E., Pierson Jr, F.B., Demaria, E.M., Goodrich, D.C., Elias, E.H., Hoover, D.L., Liebig, M.A. 2017. Hydrologic budgets across the Long-Term Agroecosystems Research network [abstract]. ASA-CSSA-SSSA Annual Meeting, October 22-25, 2017, Tampa, Florida. Available:

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Quantification of the components of the hydrologic budget at a site (precipitation, evaporation, runoff,…) gives important indications about major and minor hydrologic processes controlling field and watershed scale response. Hydrologic budgets are needed prior to assessment of potential changes attributed to climate or land management. The objective of this study were to 1) develop hydrologic budgets for watersheds (> 400 ha) and/or fields (< 100 ha) at the 18 USDA Long-Term Agroecosystems Research (LTAR) network sites using measured data, model estimates, and/or relevant published literature values, for periods ranging from 2 to 50 years, and 2) quantify the uncertainty of these fluxes. Land cover in the fields consisted of grass and shrubs on rangeland and continuous or rotation grain and seed crops on cropland. Uncertainty of each component was quantified based on measurement or estimation techniques and years of data available. While precipitation and evapo-transpiration (ET) ranged from around 250 mm in the Southwest to > 1000 mm in the Southeast, the ET coefficient (ET/[precipitation+irrigation]) was fairly constant for fields with similar land cover within the same climatic region: 0.73 on crop sites with humid climate, and 1.05 for grassland in semi-arid regions. These ratios were more variable for watersheds than for fields, and often but not always smaller. Field-scale water losses due to surface and subsurface runoff, drainage, and percolation ranged from 0 mm in semi-arid regions to 373 mm in Southeast US and varied with precipitation and soil type. Field sites could be grouped according to the water loss coefficients (water losses/[precipitation + irrigation]): around 0.30 for sites east of the Mississippi (all cropland), 0.15 to 0.25 for cropland sites west of the Mississippi, and close to 0 for western rangeland sites.