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A Rainfall Interception Model for Alfalfa Canopy under Simulated Sprinkler Irrigation

Research Center for Grassland Ecology and Resources, Beijing Forestry University, No. 35 Tsinghua East Road, Beijing 100083, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Tim Hess and Jerry Knox
Water 2016, 8(12), 585;
Received: 19 October 2016 / Revised: 30 November 2016 / Accepted: 3 December 2016 / Published: 15 December 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Resilient Water Management in Agriculture)
PDF [1699 KB, uploaded 15 December 2016]


Estimating canopy interception of water by plants during rainfall or sprinkler irrigation is a critical step for evaluating water-use efficiency. Most existing experimental studies and mathematic models of canopy interception have paid little attention to the interception losses of water by herbaceous plants. To better understand the canopy interception processes of herbaceous plants and to estimate the interception losses, a process-based dynamic interception model for alfalfa canopy was developed and validated by an experiment under conditions of simulated sprinkler irrigation. The parameters of the model included the maximum interception, the rate of interception of the alfalfa canopy, and the duration of sprinkler irrigation. The model demonstrated that the amount of interception increased rapidly with duration in the early stage of sprinkler irrigation, and then gradually leveled off until the maximum retention capacity of the canopy was reached. The maximum interception by the alfalfa canopy, ranging from 0.29 to 1.26 mm, increased nonlinearly with the increase of leaf area index (LAI) and sprinkling intensity. The rate of interception increased with the decrease of LAI and the increase of sprinkling intensities. Meanwhile, a nonlinear equation based on sprinkling intensity and plant height was proposed in order to more practically estimate the maximum interception by alfalfa canopy. View Full-Text
Keywords: canopy interception; sprinkler irrigation; alfalfa; leaf area index; sprinkling intensity canopy interception; sprinkler irrigation; alfalfa; leaf area index; sprinkling intensity

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Jiao, J.; Su, D.; Han, L.; Wang, Y. A Rainfall Interception Model for Alfalfa Canopy under Simulated Sprinkler Irrigation. Water 2016, 8, 585.

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