IWA Publishing

Leaf area index as a function of precipitation within a hydrological model

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

The Leaf Area Index (LAI) was derived from the Normalised Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) obtained from Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) data for the years 1982–2004. The NDVI-derived LAI showed a very good agreement (correlation coefficient r up to 0.96) with MODIS LAI. To address the relation between precipitation and LAI, linear correlation analysis between gridded precipitation and the NDVI-derived LAI was conducted for several land uses and each month of the year. Based on the regression coefficients, LAI could be simulated as a function of precipitation. During validation, the simulated LAI showed a very good agreement (r ≥ 0.75) with the NDVI-derived LAI. The simulated dynamic LAI was thereafter implemented in a hydrological model. For comparison, a model run with a static LAI without any inter-annual variations was also conducted. During abnormally dry conditions, the dynamic LAI was lower than the static LAI and less transpiration was therefore simulated. It is shown that a dynamic LAI contributes to a more realistic simulation approach during individual weather events but also that in the long run the simulated transpiration is much more strongly influenced by inter-annual variations in weather than by the additional vegetation dynamics in a semi-arid region.

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