The analysis of soil water partitioning in seasonally dry climates necessarily requires careful consideration of the periodic climatic forcing at the intra-annual timescale in addition to daily scale variabilities. Here, we introduce three new extensions to a stochastic soil moisture model which yields seasonal evolution of soil moisture and relevant hydrological fluxes. These approximations allow seasonal climatic forcings (e.g. rainfall and potential evapotranspiration) to be fully resolved, extending the analysis of soil water partitioning to account explicitly for the seasonal amplitude and the phase difference between the climatic forcings. The results provide accurate descriptions of probabilistic soil moisture dynamics under seasonal climates without requiring extensive numerical simulations. We also find that the transfer of soil moisture between the wet to the dry season is responsible for hysteresis in the hydrological response, showing asymmetrical trajectories in the mean soil moisture and in the transient Budyko's curves during the ‘dry-down‘ versus the ‘rewetting‘ phases of the year. Furthermore, in some dry climates where rainfall and potential evapotranspiration are in-phase, annual evapotranspiration can be shown to increase because of inter-seasonal soil moisture transfer, highlighting the importance of soil water storage in the seasonal context.
Feng, X., Porporato, A., and Rodriguez-Iturbe, I. (2015): Stochastic soil water balance under seasonal climates. Proceedings of the Royal Society A 471:20140623. DOI: 10.1098/rspa.2014.0623
This Paper/Book acknowledges NSF CZO grant support.