E-DATA: A Comprehensive Field Campaign to Investigate Evaporation Enhanced by Advection in the Hyper-Arid Altiplano

Francisco Suárez, Felipe Lobos, Alberto De La Fuente, Jordi Vilà-guerau De Arellano, Ana Prieto, Carolina Meruane, Oscar Hartogensis

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Abstract

In the endorheic basins of the Altiplano, water is crucial for sustaining unique ecological habitats. Here, the wetlands act as highly localized evaporative environments, and little is known about the processes that control evaporation. Understanding evaporation in the Altiplano is challenging because these environments are immersed in a complex topography surrounded by desert and are affected by atmospheric circulations at various spatial scales. Also, these environments may be subject to evaporation enhancement events as the result of dry air advection. To better characterize evaporation processes in the Altiplano, the novel Evaporation caused by Dry Air Transport over the Atacama Desert (E-DATA) field campaign was designed and tested at the Salar del Huasco, Chile. The E-DATA combines surface and airborne measurements to understand the evaporation dynamics over heterogeneous surfaces, with the main emphasis on the open water evaporation. The weather and research forecasting model was used for planning the instruments installation strategy to understand how large-scale air flow affects evaporation. Instrumentation deployed included: meteorological stations, eddy covariance systems, scintillometers, radiosondes and an unmanned aerial vehicle, and fiber-optic distributed temperature sensing. Additional water quality and CO2 fluxes measurements were carried out to identify the link between meteorological conditions and the biochemical dynamics of Salar del Huasco. Our first results show that, in the study site, evaporation is driven by processes occurring at multiple spatial and temporal scales and that, even in the case of available water and energy, evaporation is triggered by mechanical turbulence induced by wind. View Full-Text
Original languageEnglish
Article number745
JournalWater
Volume12
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 8 Mar 2020

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