Irrigation contrasts through the morning transition

J.K. Brooke*, M.J. Best, A.P. Lock, S.R. Osborne, J. Price, J. Cuxart, A. Boone, G. Canut-Rocafort, O.K. Hartogensis, A. Roy

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


The Land surface Interactions with the Atmosphere over the Iberian Semi-arid Environment (LIAISE) campaign was conducted in July 2021, primarily to investigate the role of irrigation in modulating the boundary-layer evolution in the Catalan region of northeastern Spain. Contrasts in near-surface meteorological parameters and boundary-layer thermodynamic profiles at an irrigated and rainfed (arid) site were established during the morning transition. Evapotranspriation dominated the flux partitioning at the irrigated site (Bowen ratio of 0.07–1.1), whilst sensible heat flux dominated at the rainfed (arid) site (Bowen ratio greater than 10.0). The cumulative evapotranspiration during July 2021 was a factor of 10 greater at the irrigated site than at the rainfed (arid) site. The presence of irrigation was shown to modulate the vertical gradients of turbulence, temperature, and moisture. Irrigation is shown to have a significant effect on the development of the boundary layer, including during the morning transition. The morning transition mean buoyancy flux was 2.8 times smaller at the irrigated site (1.1 m (Formula presented.) s (Formula presented.)) compared with the rainfed (arid) site (3.1 m (Formula presented.) s (Formula presented.)), with a resultant delay in the near-surface buoyancy-flux crossover time (30–90 min) at the irrigated site. At the start of the morning transition (sunrise), the average screen-level (50-m) temperature was (Formula presented.) K ((Formula presented.) K) colder at the irrigated site relative to the rainfed (arid) site. The colder temperatures at sunrise at the irrigated site are predominantly the result of a colder boundary-layer thermodynamic profile from the previous day. At the end of the morning transition (convective onset), temperature differences between the two sites extend through much of the boundary layer and increase in magnitude. The average screen-level (50-m) temperature difference was (Formula presented.) K ((Formula presented.) K) colder at the irrigated site relative to the rainfed (arid) site. There was considerable day-to-day variability in temperature contrasts at a regional level ((Formula presented.) to (Formula presented.) K).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)170-194
JournalQuarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society
Issue number758
Early online date2023
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2024


  • buoyancy flux
  • convective onset
  • semi-arid
  • thermodynamic profiles
  • turbulence


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