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Spatial variation of grassland canopy affects soil wetting patterns and preferential flow
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  • Gökben Demir,
  • Beate Michalzik,
  • Janett Filipzik,
  • Johanna Metzger,
  • Anke Hildebrandt
Gökben Demir
Friedrich Schiller University Jena Institute of Geoscience / Chair of Terrestrial Ecohydrology Jena 07749 Germany
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Beate Michalzik
Friedrich Schiller University Jena Institute of Geography/Chair of Soil Science Jena 07743 Germany
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Janett Filipzik
Friedrich Schiller University Jena Institute of Geoscience / Chair of Terrestrial Ecohydrology Jena 07749 Germany
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Johanna Metzger
Friedrich Schiller University Jena Institute of Geoscience / Chair of Terrestrial Ecohydrology Jena 07749 Germany
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Anke Hildebrandt
Friedrich Schiller University Jena Institute of Geoscience / Chair of Terrestrial Ecohydrology Jena 07749 Germany
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Abstract

Canopies shape net precipitation patterns, which are spatially heterogeneous and control soil moisture response to rainfall. The vast majority of studies on canopy water fluxes were conducted in forests, whereas grassland canopies are often assumed to be spatially homogeneous, therefore likely not inducing patches of heterogeneity at and below the soil surface. Yet, some studies on short-structured vegetation, such as grasslands, proposed the importance of canopy-induced heterogeneity for net precipitation, but systematic investigations on the effects on soil wetting patterns are missing. Therefore, in this study, we investigated soil moisture response to rainfall in a managed temperate grassland by exploring the individual impacts of spatially varying throughfall, vegetation height and antecedent soil moisture status on the soil wetting patterns. We applied linear mixed effects models to disentangle the role of grassland canopy versus abiotic drivers. The spatial average soil water response showed that less and less water was stored in the upper parts of the soil as the growing season progressed and the soils dried, indicating bypass flow. Spatial variation of grass height was a significant driver of soil wetting patterns along with precipitation and antecedent soil moisture status. Soil wetting was suppressed in locations with tall canopy, although surprisingly this was not directly related to throughfall patterns. Instead, our results suggest that seasonally drier conditions and grassland stemflow kick off preferential flow. Ultimately, our results confirm that spatial variation of the canopy affects soil moisture wetting patterns not only in forests and indicate a strong influence of preferential flow on soil water patterns.
11 Apr 2022Submitted to Hydrological Processes
11 Apr 2022Submission Checks Completed
11 Apr 2022Assigned to Editor
11 Apr 2022Reviewer(s) Assigned
09 Jun 2022Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
09 Jun 2022Editorial Decision: Revise Major
04 Sep 20221st Revision Received
04 Sep 2022Submission Checks Completed
04 Sep 2022Assigned to Editor
04 Sep 2022Reviewer(s) Assigned
19 Sep 2022Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
20 Sep 2022Editorial Decision: Revise Minor