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Determination of Actual Evapotranspiration and Crop Coefficients of Tropical Indian Lowland Rice (Oryza sativa) Using Eddy Covariance Approach
  • Sumanta Chatterjee,
  • Paul Stoy,
  • Manish Debnath
Sumanta Chatterjee
University of Wisconsin Madison

Corresponding Author:schatterje22@wisc.edu

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Paul Stoy
University of Wisconsin - Madison
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Manish Debnath
ICAR-National Rice Research Institute
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Rice (Oryza sativa) is a major staple food crop in India occupying about 44 million ha (Mha) of cropped land in meeting food requirements for about 65% of the population. As water scarcity has become a major concern in changing climatic scenarios precise measurements of actual evapotranspiration (ETa) and crop coefficients (Kc) are needed to better manage the limited water resources and improve irrigation scheduling. The eddy covariance (EC) method was used to determine ETa and Kc of tropical lowland rice in eastern India over two years. Reference evapotranspiration (ETa) was estimated by four different approaches– the Food and Agriculture Organization-Penman-Monteith (FAO-PM) method, the Hargreaves, and Samani (HS) method, the Mahringer (MG) method, and pan evaporation (Epan) measurements. Measurements of turbulent and available energy fluxes were taken using EC during two rice growing seasons: dry season (January-May) and wet season (July-November) and also in the fallow period where no crop was grown. Results demonstrated that the magnitude of average ETa during dry seasons (2.86 and 3.32 mm d-1 in 2015 and 2016, respectively) was higher than the wet seasons (2.3 and 2.2 mm d-1) in both the years of the experiment. The FAO-PM method best-represented ETa in this lowland rice region of India as compared to the other three methods. The energy balance was found to be more closed in the dry seasons (75–84%) and dry fallow periods (73–81%) as compared to the wet seasons (42–48%) and wet fallows (33-69%) period of both the years of study, suggesting that lateral heat transport was an important term in the energy balance calculation. The estimated Kc values for lowland rice in dry seasons by the FAO-PM method at the four crop growth stages; namely, initial, crop development, reproductive, and late-season were 0.23, 0.42, 0.64, and 0.90, respectively, in 2015 and 0.32, 0.52, 0.76 and 0.88, respectively, in 2016. The FAO-PM, HS, and MG methods produced reliable estimates of Kc values in dry seasons, whereas Epan; performed better in wet seasons. The results further demonstrated that the Kc values derived for tropical lowland rice in eastern India are different from those suggested by the FAO implying revision of Kc values for regional-scale irrigation planning.