Assessing uncertainties of water footprints using an ensemble of crop growth models on winter wheat

Kurt Christian Kersebaum*, Joop Kroes, Anne Gobin, Jozef Takáč, Petr Hlavinka, Miroslav Trnka, Domenico Ventrella, Luisa Giglio, Roberto Ferrise, Marco Moriondo, Anna Dalla Marta, Qunying Luo, Josef Eitzinger, Wilfried Mirschel, Hans Joachim Weigel, Remy Manderscheid, Munir Hoffmann, Pavol Nejedlik, Muhammad Anjum Iqbal, Johannes Hösch

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Crop productivity and water consumption form the basis to calculate the water footprint (WF) of a specific crop. Under current climate conditions, calculated evapotranspiration is related to observed crop yields to calculate WF. The assessment of WF under future climate conditions requires the simulation of crop yields adding further uncertainty. To assess the uncertainty of model based assessments of WF, an ensemble of crop models was applied to data from five field experiments across Europe. Only limited data were provided for a rough calibration, which corresponds to a typical situation for regional assessments, where data availability is limited. Up to eight models were applied for wheat. The coefficient of variation for the simulated actual evapotranspiration between models was in the range of 13%-19%, which was higher than the inter-annual variability. Simulated yields showed a higher variability between models in the range of 17%-39%. Models responded differently to elevated CO2 in a FACE (Free-Air Carbon Dioxide Enrichment) experiment, especially regarding the reduction of water consumption. The variability of calculated WF between models was in the range of 15%-49%. Yield predictions contributed more to this variance than the estimation of water consumption. Transpiration accounts on average for 51%-68% of the total actual evapotranspiration.

Original languageEnglish
Article number571
JournalWater (Switzerland)
Volume8
Issue number12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Keywords

  • Crop yield
  • Model ensemble
  • Uncertainty
  • Water footprint
  • Wheat

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    Kersebaum, K. C., Kroes, J., Gobin, A., Takáč, J., Hlavinka, P., Trnka, M., Ventrella, D., Giglio, L., Ferrise, R., Moriondo, M., Marta, A. D., Luo, Q., Eitzinger, J., Mirschel, W., Weigel, H. J., Manderscheid, R., Hoffmann, M., Nejedlik, P., Iqbal, M. A., & Hösch, J. (2016). Assessing uncertainties of water footprints using an ensemble of crop growth models on winter wheat. Water (Switzerland), 8(12), [571]. https://doi.org/10.3390/w8120571