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Geosciences 2018, 8(10), 364; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences8100364

Development of a Distributed Hydrologic Model for a Region with Fragipan Soils to Study Impacts of Climate on Soil Moisture: A Case Study on the Obion River Watershed in West Tennessee

1
Institute for a Secure and Sustainable Environment, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37996, USA
2
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37996, USA
3
Department of Agricultural Economics, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK 74078, USA
4
Department of Biosystems Engineering and Soil Science, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37996, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 31 August 2018 / Revised: 25 September 2018 / Accepted: 27 September 2018 / Published: 29 September 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mechanics of Erosion: Process Response to Change)
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Abstract

Previous land surface modeling efforts to predict and understand water budgets in the U.S. Southeast for soil water management have struggled to characterize parts of the region due to an extensive presence of fragipan soils for which current calibration approaches are not adept at handling. This study presents a physically based approach for calibrating fragipan-dominated regions based on the “effective” soil moisture capacity concept, which accounts for the dynamic perched saturation zone effects created by the low hydraulic capacities of the fragipan layers. The approach is applied to the Variable Infiltration Capacity model to develop a hydrologic model of the Obion River Watershed (ORW), TN, which has extensive fragipan coverage. Model calibration was performed using observed streamflow data, as well as evapotranspiration and soil moisture data, to ensure correct partitioning of surface and subsurface fluxes. Estimated Nash-Sutcliffe coefficients for the various sub-drainage areas within ORW were all greater than 0.65, indicating good model performance. The model results suggest that ORW has a high responsivity and high resilience. Despite forecasted temperature increases, the simulation results suggest that water budget trends in the ORW are unlikely to change significantly in the near future up to 2050 due to sufficient precipitation amounts. View Full-Text
Keywords: soil moisture; fragipan; water balance; climate change; Variable Infiltration Capacity model; U.S. Southeast soil moisture; fragipan; water balance; climate change; Variable Infiltration Capacity model; U.S. Southeast
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Ghaneeizad, S.; Papanicolaou, A.T.; Abban, B.; Wilson, C.; Giannopoulos, C.; Lambert, D.; Walker, F.; Hawkins, S. Development of a Distributed Hydrologic Model for a Region with Fragipan Soils to Study Impacts of Climate on Soil Moisture: A Case Study on the Obion River Watershed in West Tennessee. Geosciences 2018, 8, 364.

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