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Bridging the land-atmosphere

The land and the atmosphere are closely connected. From the land, water evaporates and adds moisture to the atmosphere, which in turn forms our rain. Additionally, evaporation costs energy and will lower the air temperature. Vegetation plays a major control in this interaction; however, how vegetation influences our water cycle and energy balance is poorly understood due to its dynamic behavior. Often vegetation (growth) has a season pattern (phenology), and responds in different ways to weather conditions and water shortages. Especially, in times of extremes like droughts and heatwaves, plants have very distinct survival strategies, which directly affects its water use and effects on air temperature.  

My research theme focusses on better understanding the role which vegetation has on the water- and energy balance. I do this, by combining different novel sensing techniques (e.g., distributed temperature sensing, isotopic measurements) in different settings: forests, crop land, and urban land. With this I aim to answer questions like how vegetation behaves during droughts, and how e.g., extreme heat can be mitigated with adding vegetation to our living environment.


Special issue in HESS

Water, isotope and solute fluxes in the soil-plant-atmosphere interface: investigations from the canopy to the root zone

Natalie Orlowski, Matthias Sprenger, Josie Geris, Pilar Llorens, Lixin Wang, and Miriam Coenders-Gerrits

Special issue on “Advances in Rainfall and Evaporation Partitioning” (MDPI Geosciences)

This Special Issue of Geosciences aims to gather high-quality original research articles, reviews, and technical notes on advances in rainfall and evaporation partitioning.

Rainfall that hits the vegetated surface has many options: it can be intercepted by the canopy or flow down as throughfall and/or stemflow. Along its way down, the latter two flows successively hit the understory vegetation and/or forest floor, from where it can again be intercepted or finally infiltrate into the unsaturated zone. This cascade of multiple interception storages makes it difficult to quantify the interception process. First of all, identifying all possible interception storages and quantifying their magnitude is not straightforward, since it changes both in time (vegetation phenology, and seasonality) and space (heterogeneity). However, determining the evaporation from the different interception storages is complex, since each storage has different microclimatic conditions (e.g., radiation, wind, and humidity), which are interdependent as well. Additionally, methods that focus on measuring the evaporation flux have trouble with distinguishing vapour originating from interception and transpiration, since most methods are only capable of measuring the total evaporation. Hence, if we want to understand how vegetation redistributes the rainfall, we should consider the entire processof rainfall and evaporation partitioning.

In this Special Issue, we focus on studies that deal with novel observation or model techniques that aim to increase our understanding of rainfall and evaporation partitioning, both in time and space, and on a small scale as well as a regional–global scale.

Further info can be found here.

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Chasing droplets

Cesar Jimenez Rodriguez made a very cool and interactive visual story on his PhD-work on measuring evaporation with stable water isotopes. Highly recommended to have a look: