Zhu, BW; Huang, MY; Cheng, YY; Xie, XH; Liu, Y; Zhang, XS; Bisht, G; Chen, XY; Missik, J; Liu, HP (2020). Effects of Irrigation on Water, Carbon, and Nitrogen Budgets in a Semiarid Watershed in the Pacific Northwest: A Modeling Study. JOURNAL OF ADVANCES IN MODELING EARTH SYSTEMS, 12(9), e2019MS001953.

In this study, we use the Community Land Model Version 5 (CLM5) to investigate how irrigation modulates hydrologic and biogeochemical dynamics in the Upper Columbia-Priest Rapids (UCPR) watershed, a typical semiarid watershed located in the northwestern United States dominated by cropland. To our knowledge, this constitutes the first application of CLM5 with landscape heterogeneity fully resolved over a watershed. The model is calibrated and evaluated against flux measurements from an AmeriFlux site and the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) products. Two numerical experiments (i.e., irrigated and rainfed) are performed at hyperresolution (similar to 1 km) over the period of 2010-2018, accounting for realistic crop types and management practices. Our results show that irrigation fundamentally alters hydrologic and biogeochemical dynamics of the watershed. By adding 79.6 mm year(-1)water in addition to the mean annual precipitation of 204.0 mm year(-1), irrigation leads to increases in evapotranspiration and runoff, accompanied by shallower groundwater table depths. Increases in crop productivity in response to irrigation result in more carbon storage in the watershed, and drastically large seasonal fluctuations in soil organic carbon in response to changes in soil temperature and moisture. Irrigation also intensifies the rate of denitrification and mineralization during the growing season, enhancing the interactions between soil mineral nitrogen, the atmosphere, and freshwater systems. Our study demonstrates the potential of CLM5 as an effective tool for understanding hydrological and biogeochemical dynamics in highly managed semiarid watersheds.