A GIS-based Tool for Modelling Large-scale Crop-water Relations

Environmental Modelling & Software, Volume 24, Issue 3, March 2009, Pages 411-422

Junguo Liu

“Recent research on crop-water relations has increasingly been directed towards the application of locally acquired knowledge to answering the questions raised on larger scales. However, the application of the local results to larger scales is often questionable. This paper presents a GIS-based tool, or a GEPIC model, to estimate crop water productivity (CWP) on the land surface with spatial resolution of 30 arc-min. The GEPIC model can estimate CWP on a large-scale by considering the local variations in climate, soil and management conditions. The results show a non-linear relationship between virtual water content (or the inverse of CWP) and crop yield. The simulated CWP values are generally more sensitive to three parameters, i.e. potential harvest index for a crop under ideal growing conditions (HI), biomass-energy ratio indicating the energy conversion to biomass (WA), and potential heat unit accumulation from emergence to maturity (PHU), than other parameters. The GEPIC model is a useful tool to study crop-water relations on large scales with high spatial resolution; hence, it can be used to support large-scale decision making in water management and crop production.”