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  • AcceptedVersion_Enhancing SWAT with remotely sensed LAI

    Rights statement: This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Journal of Hydrology. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Journal of Hydrology, 570, 2019 DOI: 10.1016/j.jhydrol.2019.01.024

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Enhancing SWAT with remotely sensed LAI for improved modelling of ecohydrological process in subtropics

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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>1/03/2019
<mark>Journal</mark>Journal of Hydrology
Volume570
Number of pages14
Pages (from-to)802-815
Publication statusPublished
Early online date24/01/19
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Vegetation growth in Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) is a crucial process for quantifying ecohydrological modelling, as it influences evapotranspiration, interception, soil erosion and biomass production. The simplified version of Environmental Policy Integrated Climate (EPIC) in SWAT was originally designed for temperate regions and naturally based on temperature to simulate growth cycles of vegetation. However, tropical or subtropical vegetation growth is mainly controlled by rainfall. Due to this limitation, current SWAT simulations in tropics and subtropics have been facing a series of problems on vegetation dormancy, water balance and sediment yield. Therefore, we proposed an approach to enhance the modelling of SWAT vegetation dynamics with remotely sensed leaf area index (LAI), to finally increase the applicability of SWAT in tropical or subtropical areas. Spatially and temporally continuous LAI products (1 day, 500 m) from Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) observations were integrated into SWAT to replace the LAI simulated by built-in EPIC module. Two advanced filter algorithms were employed to derive a downscaled LAI (30 m) to keep a consistent spatial scale with the size of Hydrological Response Units (HRU) and open data (i.e. SRTM, 30 m), and the source code of the plant growth module were correspondingly modified to incorporate the downscaled LAI into SWAT. To examine the performance of our proposed approach, a case study was conducted in a representative middle-scale (6384 km 2) subtropical watershed of Meichuan basin, China, and detailed analysis was performed to investigate its ecohydrological effects, such as streamflow, sediment yield and LAI dynamics from 2001 to 2014. Model performances were compared among three scenarios: (1) original SWAT, (2) SWAT with a corrected plant dormancy function, and (3) modified SWAT after integration of MODIS LAI (our proposed method). Results showed that the modified SWAT took advantage of downscaled MODIS LAI and produced more reasonable seasonal curves of vegetation cover factor (C) of plants than the original model. Correspondingly, the modified SWAT substantially improved streamflow and sediment simulations. The findings demonstrated that SWAT model can be a useful tool for simulating ecohydrological process for subtropical ecosystems when integrated with our proposed method.

Bibliographic note

This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Journal of Hydrology. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Journal of Hydrology, 570, 2019 DOI: 10.1016/j.jhydrol.2019.01.024