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Journal Article

Modelling soil moisture in hyper-arid conditions


Fraedrich,  Klaus F.
MPI for Meteorology, Max Planck Society;

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Shao, Y., Fraedrich, K. F., & Ishizuka, M. (in press). Modelling soil moisture in hyper-arid conditions. Boundary-Layer Meteorology, online first. doi:10.1007/s10546-020-00596-9.

Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0007-E35E-0
In most land-surface models, the evolution of soil moisture is governed by soil-hydraulic processes. In hyper-arid soils, these processes break down, but soil moisture continues to show clear temporal variations, suggesting that other processes may be at work. We hypothesize that moisture in such soils varies due to evaporation in the soil and to vapour fluxes at the air–soil interface. To test this, we include vapour exchange between the air and soil in a land-surface model, apply the model to a desert site, and compare the simulated and observed soil moisture. The good agreement between the simulations and observations confirms our hypothesis. Using the model results, we examine the interactions between the soil-moisture and soil-vapour phases and influences of the soil-vapour phase on the surface energy balance. © 2021, The Author(s).