• Evaluating Soil Water Models on Western Rangelands

      Cooley, K. R.; Robertson, D. C. (Society for Range Management, 1984-11-01)
      The soil profile is an important water storage reservoir within the hydrologic cycle. An understanding of the factors affecting daily soil water status is necessary to increase or modify vegetation or water yields. Many mathematical simulation models have been developed to assess soil water status, but none were found that were specifically developed for use on Western rangelands. The purpose of this report was to test soil water models that appeared to be sufficiently general for adaption to rangeland conditions, to determine if they could provide adequate results, and the level of sophistication required. The 2 models selected for evaluation were the Ekalaka Rangeland Hydrology and Yield Model (ERHYM) developed for use during the growing season on grasslands of the northern Great Plains, and the Soil-Plant-Air-Water model (SPAW), which was developed for use with cultivated crops in the Midwest. Results indicated that both models could be adapted to produce adequate soil water information under rangeland conditions of southwestern Idaho. Overall, the somewhat simpler ERHYM model produced results more closely aligned to observed values than did SPAW. The lack of a snow accumulation and melt routine in SPAW (which could be added) appeared to be the main source of observed differences. These differences were a function of timing rather than a difference in total soil water at the end of each year, where results for the 2 models were very similar.