Evapotranspiration occurs when water leaves plants in a fashion similar to human perspiration. On warm days, plants transpire, and release water through their leaves. Combine transpiration with evaporation, in which water from lakes, rivers and the soil turns to water vapor, and you get evapotranspiration.
With evapotranspiration (ET) being the second largest component in the total water budget (rainfall being the largest), researchers at the Iowa Flood Center are developing a model to determine daily ET estimations across the state. In addition to helping farmers manage crops, such a model would be a valuable tool for soil moisture monitoring and hence improving flood predictions at the Iowa Flood Center.
IFC researchers began their work with an existing evaportranspiration model, and are making it Iowa-centric, from soil types to planting schedules and everything in between. Researchers hope that enhancing our understanding of evapotranspiration will help further our ability to forecast floods in Iowa communities.