Use of Land Data Assimilation System Products to Improve Evapo-transpiration (ET) Estimates in the Middle Rio Grande Basin

Project ID: 9996
Principal Investigator: Richard Stodt
Research Topic: Water Supply Forecasting
Funded Fiscal Years: 2005 and 2006
Keywords: None

Research Question

* How can emerging Land Data Assimilation System (LDAS) products and land surface models (LSMs) developed under the Global Energy and Water Cycle Experiment (GEWEX) by the National Aeronautic and Space Administration (NASA) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) research teams be used to improve ET estimates and water demand forecasts for Reclamation facilities?

This includes determination of the value added by these research tools to Reclamation's water management operations, what resolution of vegetation indexing is needed for Decision Support Systems (DSS) and models used in water resources operational decisionmaking and planning to determine how:

* Estimated soil moisture fields from land surface models and field observations can be used to improve the efficiency of water management

* Improved demand forecasting can liberate inefficient use of water for other high priority needs on a daily operational basis.

Need and Benefit

This research is a matching leveraged research project that addresses analysis and prediction of consumptive use by crops and riverine habitat vegetation. Older calculations of ET fail to consider the latest remote sensing, data assimilation, and land surface modeling technologies; hence, there is a gap in current ET calculations. This research uses high spatial resolution and numerical model analyses and forecasts to determine the most appropriate deliveries of water to irrigated crops in a real-time decision support mode of operations. This project will evaluate the value added by specialized NOAA and NASA sponsored research products for operations.

The proposed research supports GEWEX Americas Prediction Project (GAPP) priorities by applying GAPP products in water resources management. Water demand forecasting (as used in this proposal) is limited to the water demands from irrigated agriculture, riparian vegetation and evaporation from open water surfaces. Because of competing water demands in the Western United States, there is a critical need for rapid improvement in calculating and forecasting agricultural and riparian consumptive use on time scales ranging from daily to seasonal. The study area includes the Middle Rio Grande in New Mexico from just above Cochiti reservoir southward to Elephant Butte dam.

The proposed interdisciplinary, interagency approach is for the investigators to collaborate on addressing these questions by incorporating NASA's LDAS output into the Reclamation developed ET Toolbox for the Middle Rio Grande, and then evaluating the resulting products with and without new LDAS information. The proposed study will also assess the importance of ET of different vegetation types, open water evaporation, soil moisture, and rainfall on water resource management applications through the use of remote sensing and data assimilation for drought mitigation and water conservation in the Western United States.

This project will make use of data from soil moisture probes at representative sites recently installed by the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District (MRGCD) and Reclamation to evaluate ET calculations and assess the accuracy of the LSM simulations. In addition to soil moisture data, ET ground data collected at agricultural, open water and riparian sites will be used to validate results. It will evaluate the value added by enhanced ET consumptive use analyses and predictions in water operations.

Contributing Partners

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Research Products

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Last Updated: 4/4/17