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Global sensitivity analysis for choosing the main soil parameters of a crop model to be determined

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DOI: 10.4236/as.2012.37116    3,888 Downloads   6,261 Views   Citations

ABSTRACT

The use of a crop model like STICS for appropriate management decision support requires a good knowledge of all the parameters of the model. Among them, the soil parameters are difficult to know at each point of interest and costly techniques may be used to measure them. It is therefore important to know which soil parameters need to be determined. It can be stated that those which affect significantly the output variable deserve an accurate determination while those which slightly affect the model output variable do not. This paper demonstrates how a global sensitivity analysis method based on variance decomposition can be applied on soil parameters in order to divide them in the two categories. The Extended FAST method applied to the crop model STICS and a set of 13 soil parameters first allows to calculate the part of variance explained by each soil parameter (giving global sensitivity indices of the soil parameters) and the coefficient of variation of the output variables (measuring the effect of the parameter uncertainty on each variable). These metrics are therefore used for deciding on the importance of the parameter value measurement. Different output variables (Leaf Area Index and chlorophyll content) are evaluated at different stages of interest while others (crop yield, grain protein content, soil mineral nitrogen) are evaluated at harvest. The analysis is applied on two different annual crops (wheat and sugar beet), two contrasted weather and two types of soil depth. When the uncertainty of the output generated by the soil parameters is large (coefficient of variation > 1/3), only the parameters having a significant global sensitivity indices (higher than 10%) are retained. The results show that the number of soil parameters which deserve an accurate determination can be significantly reduced by the use of this relevant method for appropriate management decision support.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Cite this paper

Varella, H. , Buis, S. , Launay, M. and Guérif, M. (2012) Global sensitivity analysis for choosing the main soil parameters of a crop model to be determined. Agricultural Sciences, 3, 949-961. doi: 10.4236/as.2012.37116.

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