Effects of a groundwater scheme on the simulation of soil moisture and evapotranspiration over southern South America

J. Alejandro Martinez, Francina Dominguez, Gonzalo Miguez-Macho

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The effects of groundwater dynamics on the representation ofwater storage and evapotranspiration (ET) over southern South America are studied from simulations with the Noah-MP land surface model. The model is run with three different configurations: one including theMiguez-Macho and Fan groundwater scheme, anotherwith the Simple Groundwater Model (SIMGM), and the other with free drainage at the bottom of the soil column. The first objective is to assess the effects of the groundwater schemes using a grid size typical of regional climate model simulations at the continental scale (20 km). The phase and amplitude of the fluctuations in the terrestrial water storage over the southernAmazon are improved with one of the groundwater schemes.An increase in the moisture in the top 2m of the soil is found in those regions where the water table is closer to the land surface, including the western and southern Amazon and the La Plata basin. This induces an increase in ET over the southern La Plata basin, where ET is water limited. There is also a seasonal increase in ET during the dry season over parts of the southern Amazon. The second objective is to assess the role of the horizontal resolution on the effects induced by the Miguez-Macho and Fan groundwater scheme using simulations with grid sizes of 5 and 20km. Over the La Plata basin, the effect of groundwater on ET is amplified at the 5-km resolution. Notably, over parts of the Amazon, the groundwater scheme increases ET only at the higher 5-km resolution.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2941
Number of pages1
JournalJournal of Hydrometeorology
Issue number11
StatePublished - 2016


  • Evapotranspiration
  • Hydrometeorology
  • Land surface model
  • Soil moisture

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science


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