Biological Systems Engineering


Date of this Version



Published in Transactions of the ASAE VOL. 40(1):81-88. Published by 1997 American Society of Agricultural Engineers 0001-2351 / 97 / 4001-0081.


Field water balance measurements using monolithic lysimeters were used in validating the Cupid-DPE model for predicting water loss partitioning during sprinkler irrigation from a moving lateral system fitted with impact sprinklers and spray nozzles. The model combines equations governing water droplet evaporation and droplet ballistics with a comprehensive plant-environment energy balance model. Comparisons indicate good agreement between measured and modeled transpiration, and the measured and modeled soil evaporation during the day of irrigation. Total predicted evapotranspiration during the day of irrigation was greater than measured totals using the monolithic lysimeters. However, part of this difference was because the lysimeters could not measure water use during irrigation. Total measured and predicted evapo-transpiration agreed well for the day following irrigation. Predicted soil evaporation rates matched well for the period immediately following irrigation, and cumulative soil evaporation was nearly identical to the measured total through the end of the next day. During irrigation, the main water loss was shifted from transpiration to evaporation of the wetted-canopy. For equal application volumes, the duration of this effect was greater using impact sprinklers due to the greater wetted diameter and lower average application rate compared to spray nozzles. Predicted water flux rates during irrigation were up to 50% greater for canopy evaporation than for transpiration rates predicted immediately prior to the start of irrigation. Canopy evaporation amounted to 69% and 63% of the total predicted water use during impact and spray irrigation, respectively. It also was 0.69 and 0.28 mm greater, respectively, than the predicted transpiration total during this same time span assuming no irrigation had been applied. About 13 and 5% of the water applied by overhead sprinkling was evaporated or transpired during impact and spray irrigation, respectively. However, the net increase in predicted water loss during irrigation was only 5.8% and 2.4% of the irrigated water depth applied for the impact and spray cases, respectively, because transpiration and soil evaporation would have occurred even without irrigation. Although droplet evaporation represented less than 1% of the total water loss for the day using either type of sprinkler, irrigation water did influence the energy transfer between the plant-environment and water droplets during flight, on the canopy, and the soil.