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- The Global Crop Water Model (GCWM) : documentation and first results for irrigated crops (2008)
- A new global crop water model was developed to compute blue (irrigation) water requirements and crop evapotranspiration from green (precipitation) water at a spatial resolution of 5 arc minutes by 5 arc minutes for 26 different crop classes. The model is based on soil water balances performed for each crop and each grid cell. For the first time a new global data set was applied consisting of monthly growing areas of irrigated crops and related cropping calendars. Crop water use was computed for irrigated land and the period 1998 – 2002. In this documentation report the data sets used as model input and methods used in the model calculations are described, followed by a presentation of the first results for blue and green water use at the global scale, for countries and specific crops. Additionally the simulated seasonal distribution of water use on irrigated land is presented. The computed model results are compared to census based statistical information on irrigation water use and to results of another crop water model developed at FAO.
- Global dataset of monthly growing areas of 26 irrigated crops : version 1.0 (2008)
- A data set of monthly growing areas of 26 irrigated crops (MGAG-I) and related crop calendars (CC-I) was compiled for 402 spatial entities. The selection of the crops consisted of all major food crops including regionally important ones (wheat, rice, maize, barley, rye, millet, sorghum, soybeans, sunflower, potatoes, cassava, sugar cane, sugar beets, oil palm, rapeseed/canola, groundnuts/peanuts, pulses, citrus, date palm, grapes/vine, cocoa, coffee), major water-consuming crops (cotton), and unspecified other crops (other perennial crops, other annual crops, managed grassland). The data set refers to the time period 1998-2002 and has a spatial resolution of 5 arc minutes by 5 arc minutes which is 8 km by 8 km at the equator. This is the first time that a data set of cell-specific irrigated growing areas of irrigated crops with this spatial resolution was created. The data set is consistent to the irrigated area and water use statistics of the AQUASTAT programme of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) (http://www.fao.org/ag/agl/aglw/aquastat/main/index.stm) and the Global Map of Irrigation Areas (GMIA) (http://www.fao.org/ag/agl/aglw/aquastat/irrigationmap/index.stm). At the cell-level it was tried to maximise consistency to the cropland extent and cropland harvested area from the Department of Geography and Earth System Science Program of the McGill University at Montreal, Quebec, Canada and the Center for Sustainability and the Global Environment (SAGE) of the University of Wisconsin at Madison, USA (http://www.geog.mcgill.ca/~nramankutty/ Datasets/Datasets.html and http://geomatics.geog.mcgill.ca/~navin/pub/Data/175crops2000/). The consistency between the grid product and the input data was quantified. MGAG-I and CC-I are fully consistent to each other on entity level. For input data other than CC-I, the consistency of MGAG-I on cell level was calculated. The consistency of MGAG-I with respect to the area equipped for irrigation (AEI) of GMIA and to the cropland extent of SAGE was characterised by the sum of the cell-specific maximum difference between the MGAG-I monthly total irrigated area and the reference area when the latter was exceeded in the grid cell. The consistency of the harvested area contained in MGAG-I with respect to SAGE harvested area was characterised by the crop-specific sum of the cell-specific difference between MGAG-I harvested area and the SAGE harvested area when the latter was exceeded in the grid cell. In all three cases, the sums are the excess areas that should not have been distributed under the assumption that the input data were correct. Globally, this cell-level excess of MGAG-I as compared to AEI is 331,304 ha or only about 0.12 % of the global AEI of 278.9 Mha found in the original grid. The respective cell-level excess of MGAG-I as compared to the SAGE cropland extent is 32.2 Mha, corresponding to about 2.2 % of the total cropland area. The respective cell-level excess of MGAG-I as compared to the SAGE harvested area is 27 % of the irrigated harvested area, or 11.5 % of the AEI. In a further step that will be published later also rainfed areas were compiled in order to form the Global data set of monthly irrigated and rainfed crop areas around the year 2000 (MIRCA2000). The data set can be used for global and continental-scale studies on food security and water use. In the future, it will be improved, e.g. with a better spatial resolution of crop calendars and an improved crop distribution algorithm. The MIRCA2000 data set, its full documentation together with future updates will be freely available through the following long-term internet site: http://www.geo.uni-frankfurt.de/ipg/ag/dl/forschung/MIRCA/index.html. The research presented here was funded by the German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, DFG) within the framework of the research project entitled "Consistent assessment of global green, blue and virtual water fluxes in the context of food production: regional stresses and worldwide teleconnections". The authors thank Navin Ramankutty and Chad Monfreda for making available the current SAGE datasets on cropland extent (Ramankutty et al., 2008) and harvested area (Monfreda et al., 2008) prior to their publication.
- Global-scale modeling of groundwater recharge (2007)
- Long-term average groundwater recharge, which is equivalent to renewable groundwater resources, is the major limiting factor for the sustainable use of groundwater. Compared to surface water resources, groundwater resources are more protected from pollution, and their use is less restricted by seasonal and inter-annual flow variations. To support water management in a globalized world, it is necessary to estimate groundwater recharge at the global scale. Here, we present a best estimate of global-scale long-term average diffuse groundwater recharge (i.e. renewable groundwater resources) that has been calculated by the most recent version of the WaterGAP Global Hydrology Model WGHM (spatial resolution of 0.5° by 0.5°, daily time steps). The estimate was obtained using two state-of-the art global data sets of gridded observed precipitation that we corrected for measurement errors, which also allowed to quantify the uncertainty due to these equally uncertain data sets. The standard WGHM groundwater recharge algorithm was modified for semi-arid and arid regions, based on 15 independent estimates of diffuse groundwater recharge, which lead to an unbiased estimation of groundwater recharge in these regions. WGHM was tuned against observed long-term average river discharge at 1235 gauging stations by adjusting, individually for each basin, the partitioning of precipitation into evapotranspiration and total runoff. We estimate that global groundwater recharge was 12 666 km3/yr for the climate nor20 mal 1961–1990, i.e. 32% of total renewable water resources. In semi-arid and arid regions, mountainous regions, permafrost regions and in the Asian Monsoon region, groundwater recharge accounts for a lower fraction of total runoff, which makes these regions particularly vulnerable to seasonal and inter-annual precipitation variability and water pollution. Average per-capita renewable groundwater resources of countries vary 25 between 8m3/(capita yr) for Egypt to more than 1 million m3/(capita yr) for the Falkland Islands, the global average in the year 2000 being 2091m3/(capita yr). Regarding the uncertainty of estimated groundwater resources due to the two precipitation data sets, deviation from the mean is less than 1% for 50 out of the 165 countries considered, between 1 and 5% for 62, between 5 and 20% for 43 and between 20 and 80% for 10 countries. Deviations at the grid scale can be much larger, ranging between 0 and 186 mm/yr.
- Value of river discharge data for global-scale hydrological modeling (2007)
- his paper investigates the value of observed river discharge data for global-scale hydrological modeling of a number of flow characteristics that are required for assessing water resources, flood risk and habitat alteration of aqueous ecosystems. An improved version of WGHM (WaterGAP Global Hydrology Model) was tuned in a way that simulated and observed long-term average river discharges at each station become equal, using either the 724-station dataset (V1) against which former model versions were tuned or a new dataset (V2) of 1235 stations and often longer time series. WGHM is tuned by adjusting one model parameter (γ) that affects runoff generation from land areas, and, where necessary, by applying one or two correction factors, which correct the total runoff in a sub-basin (areal correction factor) or the discharge at the station (station correction factor). The study results are as follows. (1) Comparing V2 to V1, the global land area covered by tuning basins increases by 5%, while the area where the model can be tuned by only adjusting γ increases by 8% (546 vs. 384 stations). However, the area where a station correction factor (and not only an areal correction factor) has to be applied more than doubles (389 vs. 93 basins), which is a strong drawback as use of a station correction factor makes discharge discontinuous at the gauge and inconsistent with runoff in the basin. (2) The value of additional discharge information for representing the spatial distribution of long-term average discharge (and thus renewable water resources) with WGHM is high, particularly for river basins outside of the V1 tuning area and for basins where the average sub-basin area has decreased by at least 50% in V2 as compared to V1. For these basins, simulated long-term average discharge would differ from the observed one by a factor of, on average, 1.8 and 1.3, respectively, if the additional discharge information were not used for tuning. The value tends to be higher in semi-arid and snow-dominated regions where hydrological models are less reliable than in humid areas. The deviation of the other simulated flow characteristics (e.g. low flow, inter-annual variability and seasonality) from the observed values also decreases significantly, but this is mainly due to the better representation of average discharge but not of variability. (3) The optimal sub-basin size for tuning depends on the modeling purpose. On the one hand, small basins between 9000 and 20 000 km2 show a much stronger improvement in model performance due to tuning than the larger basins, which is related to the lower model performance (with and without tuning), with basins over 60 000 km2 performing best. On the other hand, tuning of small basins decreases model consistency, as almost half of them require a station correction factor.
- Global modelling of continental water storage changes : sensitivity to different climate data sets (2007)
- Since 2002, the GRACE satellite mission provides estimates of the Earth's dynamic gravity field with unprecedented accuracy. Differences between monthly gravity fields contain a clear hydrological signal due to continental water storage changes. In order to evaluate GRACE results, the state-of-the-art WaterGAP Global Hydrological Model (WGHM) is applied to calculate terrestrial water storage changes on a global scale. WGHM is driven by different climate data sets to analyse especially the influence of different precipitation data on calculated water storage. The data sets used are the CRU TS 2.1 climate data set, the GPCC Full Data Product for precipitation and data from the ECMWF integrated forecast system. A simple approach for precipitation correction is introduced. WGHM results are then compared with GRACE data. The use of different precipitation data sets leads to considerable differences in computed water storage change for a large number of river basins. Comparing model results with GRACE observations shows a good spatial correlation and also a good agreement in phase. However, seasonal variations of water storage as derived from GRACE tend to be significantly larger than those computed by WGHM, regardless of which climate data set is used.
- Development and validation of the global map of irrigation areas (2005)
- A new version of a digital global map of irrigation areas was developed by combining irrigation statistics for 10 825 sub-national statistical units and geo-spatial information on the location and extent of irrigation schemes. The map shows the percentage of each 5 arc minute by 5 arc minute cell that was equipped for irrigation around the year 2000. It is thus an important data set for global studies related to water and land use. This paper describes the data set and the mapping methodology and gives, for the first time, an estimate of the map quality at the scale of countries, world regions and the globe. Two indicators of map quality were developed for this purpose, and the map was compared to irrigated areas as derived from two remote sensing based global land cover inventories.
- Simulating river flow velocity on global scale (2005)
- Flow velocity in rivers has a major impact on residence time of water and thus on high and low water as well as on water quality. For global scale hydrological modeling only very limited information is available for simulating flow velocity. Based on the Manning-Strickler equation, a simple algorithm to model temporally and spatially variable flow velocity was developed with the objective of improving flow routing in the global hydrological model of Water- GAP. An extensive data set of flow velocity measurements in US rivers was used to test and to validate the algorithm before integrating it into WaterGAP. In this test, flow velocity was calculated based on measured discharge and compared to measured velocity. Results show that flow velocity can be modeled satisfactorily at selected river cross sections. It turned out that it is quite sensitive to river roughness, and the results can be optimized by tuning this parameter. After the validation of the approach, the tested flow velocity algorithm has been implemented into the WaterGAP model. A final validation of its effects on the model results is currently performed.
- Global-scale estimation of diffuse groundwater recharge : model tuning to local data for semi-arid and arid regions and assessment of climate change impact (2005)
- Groundwater recharge is the major limiting factor for the sustainable use of groundwater. To support water management in a globalized world, it is necessary to estimate, in a spatially resolved way, global-scale groundwater recharge. In this report, improved model estimates of diffuse groundwater recharge at the global-scale, with a spatial resolution of 0.5° by 0.5°, are presented. They are based on calculations of the global hydrological model WGHM (WaterGAP Global Hydrology Model) which, for semi-arid and arid areas of the globe, was tuned against independent point estimates of diffuse groundwater recharge. This has led to a decrease of estimated groundwater recharge under semi-arid and arid conditions as compared to the model results before tuning, and the new estimates are more similar to country level data on groundwater recharge. Using the improved model, the impact of climate change on groundwater recharge was simulated, applying two greenhouse gas emissions scenarios as interpreted by two different climate models.
- A digital global map of artificially drained agricultural areas : documentation (2005)
- Artificial drainage of agricultural land, for example with ditches or drainage tubes, is used to avoid water logging and to manage high groundwater tables. Among other impacts it influences the nutrient balances by increasing leaching losses and by decreasing denitrification. To simulate terrestrial transport of nitrogen on the global scale, a digital global map of artificially drained agricultural areas was developed. The map depicts the percentage of each 5’ by 5’ grid cell that is equipped for artificial drainage. Information on artificial drainage in countries or sub-national units was mainly derived from international inventories. Distribution to grid cells was based, for most countries, on the "Global Croplands Dataset" of Ramankutty et al. (1998) and the "Digital Global Map of Irrigation Areas" of Siebert et al. (2005). For some European countries the CORINE land cover dataset was used instead of the both datasets mentioned above. Maps with outlines of artificially drained areas were available for 6 countries. The global drainage area on the map is 167 Mio hectares. For only 11 out of the 116 countries with information on artificial drainage areas, sub-national information could be taken into account. Due to this coarse spatial resolution of the data sources, we recommended to use the map of artificially drained areas only for continental to global scale assessments. This documentation describes the dataset, the data sources and the map generation, and it discusses the data uncertainty.
- Assessment of ecologically relevant hydrological change in China due to water use and reservoirs (2008)
- As China’s economy booms, increasing water use has significantly affected hydro-geomorphic processes and thus the ecology of surface waters. A large variety of hydrological changes arising from human activities such as reservoir construction and management, water abstraction, water diversion and agricultural land expansion have been sustained throughout China. Using the global scale hydrological and water use model WaterGAP, natural and anthropogenically altered flow conditions are calculated, taking into account flow alterations due to human water consumption and 580 large reservoirs. The impacts resulting from water consumption and reservoirs have been analyzed separately. A modified “Indicators of Hydrologic Alteration” approach is used to describe the human pressures on aquatic ecosystems due to anthropogenic alterations in river flow regimes. The changes in long-term average river discharge, average monthly mean discharge and coefficients of variation of monthly river discharges under natural and impacted conditions are compared and analyzed. The indicators show very significant alterations of natural river flow regimes in a large part of northern China and only minor alterations in most of southern China. The detected large alterations in long-term average river discharge, the seasonality of flows and the inter-annual variability in the northern half of China are very likely to have caused significant ecological impacts.