Evapotranspiration―Soil Structure Relationship in West Marshes of France


The soil potentials, facing to the crop fields, are commonly estimated through the calculation of their available water capacity based on the ETP or ETM estimation. The present work introduces the comparison between theoretical and real available water capacity profiles calculated down to 1.00 m depth. The evapotranspiration data are used to the calculation of ETP in an undrained grassland and ETM in two drained corn fields located in the French Atlantic marshlands. The studied soils have acquired specific properties in response to the reclaiming of the clay; dominant primary sediments began since the Middle Age and late drainage works. The theoretical and real available water capacity profiles are calculated from the ETP and ETM data and from the soil moisture profiles respectively, from June to October 2013. The theoretical and real profiles are confronted to the tensiometric pressure recording at 30, 60 and 90 cm. The tensiometric pressure behavior and associated premature disconnections of the tensiometric plugs are explained thanks to the soil structure-hydromechanical property relationships: i.e. from ductile state in depth to brittle state in surface. The vertical evolutions of the real profiles are explained facing to the plant growing, pluviometry and water nape levels. Their behavior and their shifts from the linear “theoretical” ETP or ETM profiles clearly show the advance of the desiccation front and consequently the kinetics of water consumption by plants. This simple method of calculation and comparison between the real and theoretical ETM or ETP profiles allows the quantitative discussion: 1) on the role of the soil microstructure behavior on the root growing and, 2) on the realism of the crop coefficient taken into account in the ETP or ETM estimation. In these coastal marsh fields, it also argues on the difficulty of management facing to the water and/or salt stresses.

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Radimy, R. , Dudoignon, P. , Hillaireau, J. and Caner, L. (2014) Evapotranspiration―Soil Structure Relationship in West Marshes of France. Journal of Water Resource and Protection, 6, 821-840. doi: 10.4236/jwarp.2014.69078.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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