Crop and Pasture Science Crop and Pasture Science Society
Plant sciences, sustainable farming systems and food quality
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Sensitivity and uncertainty analysis of the HYDRUS-1D model for root water uptake in saline soils

Wenzhi Zeng A B D , Guoqing Lei A , Yuanyuan Zha A , Yuanhao Fang C , Jingwei Wu A and Jiesheng Huang A
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A State Key Laboratory of Water Resources and Hydropower Engineering Science, Wuhan University, Wuhan, Hubei Province, 430072, China.

B Crop Science Group, Institute of Crop Science and Resource Conservation (INRES), University of Bonn, Katzenburgweg 5, D-53115 Bonn, Germany.

C Department of Hydrology and Water Resources, Hohai University, Nanjing, Jiangsu Province, 210098, China.

D Corresponding author. Email: zengwenzhi1989@whu.edu.cn

Crop and Pasture Science 69(2) 163-173 https://doi.org/10.1071/CP17020
Submitted: 12 January 2017  Accepted: 30 November 2017   Published: 31 January 2018

Abstract

A variance-based global sensitivity analysis (extended Fourier amplitude sensitivity test, EFAST) was applied to the Feddes module of the HYDRUS-1D model, and the sensitivity indices including both main and total effects of actual root water uptake (RWUa) to seven Feddes parameters were quantified at different growth stages of sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.): seedling, bud, flowering and maturity. The effects of soil salinity, climate conditions, and crop root growth on parameter sensitivity were explored by analysing three precipitation frequencies and two maximum root depths across four field locations with different soil salinity levels in China’s sunflower-growing regions. Uncertainties for RWUa were evaluated at four stages with varying Feddes parameters for different field locations, precipitation frequencies and maximum root depths. We found that the water stress factor concerning ceasing root water uptake (h4), and two salt stress factors ht and Sp, indicating the salinity threshold and the slope of the curve determining the fractional decline in root water uptake per unit increase in salinity below the threshold, respectively, were three most important Feddes parameters for RWUa estimation in HYDRUS-1D. In addition, the effects of soil salinity and precipitation frequencies were stronger than maximum root depth on the order of the parameters’ impacts on RWUa. Our study suggested that h1, h2, h3h, and h3l might be determined by an economical method (e.g. literature review) in saline soils with limited observations, but it is better to calibrate wilting point (h4) and salt stress parameters (ht and Sp) based on local measurements.

Additional keywords: crop production, irrigation, modelling, salinisation, water use efficiency.


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