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Available water capacity from a multidisciplinary and multiscale viewpoint. A review

Abstract : Soil–plant–atmosphere models and certain land surface models usually require information about the ability of soils to store and release water. Thus, a critical soil parameter for such reservoir-like models is the available water capacity (AWC), which is usually recognized as the most influential parameter when modeling water transfer. AWC does not have a single definition despite its wide use by scientists in research models, by regional managers as land-management tools and by farmers as decision-aid tools. Methods used to estimate AWC are also diverse, including laboratory measurements of soil samples, field monitoring, use of pedotransfer functions, and inverse modeling of soil-vegetation models. However, the resulting estimates differ and, depending on the method and scale, may have high uncertainty. Here, we review the many definitions of AWC, as well as soil and soil–plant approaches used to estimate it from local to larger spatial scales. We focus especially on the limits and uncertainties of each method. We demonstrate that in soil science, AWC represents a capacity—the size of the water reservoir that plants can use—whereas in agronomy, it represents an ability—the quantity of water that a plant can withdraw from the soil. We claim that the two approaches should be hybridized to improve the definitions and estimates of AWC. We also recommend future directions: (i) adapt pedotransfer functions to provide information about plants, (ii) integrate newly available information from soil mapping in spatial inverse-modeling applications, and (iii) integrate model-inversion results into methods for digital soil mapping.
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Contributor : Hélène LESUR Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Tuesday, June 7, 2022 - 11:21:05 AM
Last modification on : Friday, August 5, 2022 - 11:37:59 AM


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Isabelle Cousin, Samuel Buis, Philippe Lagacherie, Claude Doussan, Christine Le Bas, et al.. Available water capacity from a multidisciplinary and multiscale viewpoint. A review. Agronomy for Sustainable Development, 2022, 42 (3), pp.46. ⟨10.1007/s13593-022-00774-8⟩. ⟨hal-03689408⟩



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