International Collaborators Develop Easy-to-Use Formulas for Water and Carbon Accounting Conditions

A map shows the network of eddy covariance flux monitoring sites. Ecosystem water use through the evapotranspiration process is closely coupled with ecosystem productivity, water availability, and water supplies. Although numerous hydrological models exist, accurately estimating water use remains challenging because of model deficiency or difficulty of model use in practice. To improve model accuracy and user experience, researchers (including Eastern Threat Center scientists) working together through the U.S.-China Carbon Consortium combined water use or evapotranspiration data from global eddy covariance flux measurements at more than 200 monitoring sites, multiple year remote sensing products, and statistical modeling. Their results produced a new set of formulas that can help models better quantify landscape-level water and carbon balances with readily available meteorological and biophysical information. Scientists world-wide are utilizing these easy-to-use formulas to map water supply and ecosystem productivity for large basins or regions. In addition, the formulas can help users understand water stress and carbon-water tradeoffs in different ecosystems under climate change and variability and management scenarios.

Pictured: A map shows the network of monitoring sites that provided data for this study. The USCCC allows scientists to share data across the United States and China. Image by Yun Fang, North Carolina State University.

Related publications:

External Partners/Collaborators: U.S.-China Carbon Consortium (USCCC); North Carolina State University; College of Applied Meteorology, Nanjing University of Information Science and Technology

Contact: Ge Sun, research hydrologist,

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