U.S. Department of Agriculture: Agricultural Research Service, Lincoln, Nebraska


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One potential way to improve crop growth models is for the models to predict energy balance and evapotranspiration (ET) from first principles, thus serving as a check on “engineered” ET methodology. In this paper, we present new implementations and the results of an energy balance model (EBL) developed by Jagtap and Jones (1989) and then implemented in DSSAT’s CROPGRO (CG-EBL) model by Pickering et al. (1995) as a linked energy balance-photosynthesis model that has not been field-tested until now. The energy balance code computes evapotranspiration and other energy balance components, as well as a canopy air temperature, based on three sources (sunlit leaves, shaded leaves, soil surface). Model performance was evaluated with measured biomass and energy fluxes from two sites in Nebraska, namely, the US-Ne2 irrigated maize-soybean rotation field and the US-Ne3 rainfed maize-soybean rotation field, which are part of the Ameriflux eddy covariance network (htt ps://ameriflux.lbl.gov/sites). After implementing new aerodynamic resistances and the stomatal conductance model of the Ball–Berry–Leuning, crop growth, evapotranspiration and soil temperature were simulated well by the EBL model. The EBL improved ET predictions slightly over the often-used FAO56 method [Penman–Monteith (Allen et al., 1998)] for 4 of the 5 years evaluated for both irrigated and rainfed conditions. Further, a significant improvement was achieved using EBL for the simulation of soil temperature at the various depths compared to STEMP, the original subroutine in DSSAT for simulating soil temperature. Compared to the other available DSSAT methods, the EBL explicitly simulates the impacts of crop morphology, physiology and management on the crop’s environment and energy and mass exchange, which in turn directly affect the water use and irrigation requirements, phenology, photosynthesis, growth, sterility, and yield of the crop.

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