Modeling and evaluating the effects of irrigation on land–atmosphere interaction in southwestern Europe with the regional climate model REMO2020–iMOVE using a newly developed parameterization

Asmus, Christina; Hoffmann, Peter; Pietikäinen, Joni-Pekka; Böhner, Jürgen; Rechid, Diana

Irrigation is a crucial land use practice to adapt agriculture to unsuitable climate and soil conditions. Aiming to improve the growth of plants, irrigation modifies the soil condition, which causes atmospheric effects and feedbacks through land–atmosphere interaction. These effects can be quantified with numerical climate models, as has been done in various studies. It could be shown that irrigation effects, such as air temperature reduction and humidity increase, are well understood and should not be neglected on local and regional scales. However, there is a lack of studies including the role of vegetation in the altered land–atmosphere interaction. With the increasing resolution of numerical climate models, these detailed processes have a chance to be better resolved and studied. This study aims to analyze the effects of irrigation on land–atmosphere interaction, including the effects and feedbacks of vegetation. We developed a new parameterization for irrigation, implemented it into the REgional climate MOdel (REMO2020), and coupled it with the interactive MOsaic-based VEgetation module (iMOVE). Following this new approach of a separate irrigated fraction, the parameterization is suitable as a subgrid parameterization for high-resolution studies and resolves irrigation effects on land, atmosphere, and vegetation. Further, the parameterization is designed with three different water application schemes in order to analyze different parameterization approaches and their influence on the representation of irrigation effects. We apply the irrigation parameterization for southwestern Europe including the Mediterranean region at a 0.11inline-formula horizontal resolution for hot extremes. The simulation results are evaluated in terms of the consistency of physical processes. We found direct effects of irrigation, like a changed surface energy balance with increased latent and decreased sensible heat fluxes, and a surface temperature reduction of more than inline-formula−4 K as a mean during the growing season. Further, vegetation reacts to irrigation with direct effects, such as reduced water stress, but also with feedbacks, such as a delayed growing season caused by the reduction of the near-surface temperature. Furthermore, the results were compared to observational data, showing a significant bias reduction in the 2 m mean temperature when using the irrigation parameterization.

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Asmus, Christina / Hoffmann, Peter / Pietikäinen, Joni-Pekka / et al: Modeling and evaluating the effects of irrigation on land–atmosphere interaction in southwestern Europe with the regional climate model REMO2020–iMOVE using a newly developed parameterization. 2023. Copernicus Publications.

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