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RIP-ET: A riparian evapotranspiration package for MODFLOW-2005

March 6, 2012

A new evapotranspiration package for the U.S. Geological Survey's groundwater-flow model, MODFLOW, is documented. The Riparian Evapotranspiration Package (RIP-ET) provides flexibility in simulating riparian and wetland transpiration not provided by the Evapotranspiration (EVT) or Segmented Function Evapotranspiration (ETS1) Packages for MODFLOW 2005. This report describes how the RIP-ET package was conceptualized and provides input instructions, listings and explanations of the source code, and an example. Traditional approaches to modeling evapotranspiration (ET) processes assume a piecewise linear relationship between ET flux and hydraulic head. The RIP-ET replaces this traditional relationship with a segmented, nonlinear dimensionless curve that reflects the eco-physiology of riparian and wetland ecosystems. Evapotranspiration losses from these ecosystems are dependent not only on hydraulic head, but on the plant types present. User-defined plant functional groups (PFGs) are used to elucidate the interaction between plant transpiration and groundwater conditions. Five generalized plant functional groups based on transpiration rates, plant rooting depth, and water tolerance ranges are presented: obligate wetland, shallow-rooted riparian, deep-rooted riparian, transitional riparian and bare ground/open water. Plant functional groups can be further divided into subgroups (PFSGs) based on plant size, density or other characteristics. The RIP-ET allows for partial habitat coverage and mixtures of plant functional subgroups to be present in a single model cell. RIP-ET also distinguishes between plant transpiration and bare-ground evaporation. Habitat areas are designated by polygons; each polygon can contain a mixture of PFSGs and bare ground, and is assigned a surface elevation. This process requires a determination of fractional coverage for each of the plant functional subgroups present in a polygon to account for the mixture of coverage types and resulting transpiration. The fractional cover within a cell has two components: (1) the polygonal fraction of active habitat (excluding area of bare ground, dead trees, or brush) in a cell, and (2) fraction of plant type area or bare ground area in a polygon. RIP-ET determines the transpiration rate for each plant functional group and evaporation from bare ground/open water in a cell, the total ET in the cell, and the total ET rate over the region of simulation.

Publication Year 2012
Title RIP-ET: A riparian evapotranspiration package for MODFLOW-2005
DOI 10.3133/tm6A39
Authors Thomas Maddock, Kathryn J. Baird, R. T. Hanson, Wolfgang Schmid, Hoori Ajami
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Techniques and Methods
Series Number 6-A39
Index ID tm6A39
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization California Water Science Center