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Open AccessArticle

Rooting Depth and Extreme Precipitation Regulate Groundwater Recharge in the Thick Unsaturated Zone: A Case Study

by Jin Shao 1, Bingcheng Si 1,2,* and Jiming Jin 1,3,*
1
Key Laboratory of Agricultural Soil and Water Engineering in Arid and Semiarid Areas, Ministry of Education, Northwest A&F University, Yangling 712100, China
2
Department of Soil Science, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK S7N 5A8, Canada
3
Department of Watershed Sciences, Utah State University, Logan, UT 84322, USA
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2019, 11(6), 1232; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11061232
Received: 21 May 2019 / Revised: 9 June 2019 / Accepted: 11 June 2019 / Published: 13 June 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Hydrogeology: Trend, Model, Methodology and Concepts)
Many modeling efforts have been made for shallow soil, but little has been done in deep-rooted ecosystems, especially on the long-term impact of deep-rooted vegetation to understand the impact of vegetation type on hydrological processes. In this study, we used the Community Land Model (CLM) version 4.0 to simulate the soil water dynamics and groundwater recharge with shallow-rooted and deep-rooted vegetation cover in the critical soil zone of 100 m thickness. We selected winter wheat and summer maize to represent shallow-rooted vegetation and apple trees as deep-rooted vegetation growing in the semi-humid Loess Plateau of China over the period of 1901–2015. Our results show that the rooting depth and precipitation dictate the occurrence of disconnected recharge. This occurred in soil depths that were below 75 m in wet years with annual precipitation of over 650, 730, and 1000 mm for the winter wheat field, summer maize field, and apple orchard, respectively. Connected recharge was the major component of groundwater recharge for all three crop fields. The transit time of precipitation ranged from several to hundreds of years via the disconnected recharge that is caused by extreme precipitation and the connected recharge that is generated by other precipitation. Therefore, both rooting depth and growth period of vegetation affect the groundwater recharge and transit time, as well as precipitation. View Full-Text
Keywords: groundwater recharge; rooting depth; growth period; vegetation type; extreme precipitation; climate response; thick unsaturated zone groundwater recharge; rooting depth; growth period; vegetation type; extreme precipitation; climate response; thick unsaturated zone
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MDPI and ACS Style

Shao, J.; Si, B.; Jin, J. Rooting Depth and Extreme Precipitation Regulate Groundwater Recharge in the Thick Unsaturated Zone: A Case Study. Water 2019, 11, 1232.

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