The governing equations of soil moisture dynamics, photosynthesis, and transpiration are reviewed and coupled to study the dependence of plant carbon assimilation on soil moisture. The model follows the scheme of the soil––plant––atmosphere continuum (SPAC) and uses a simplified model of the atmospheric boundary layer to arrive at an upscaled, parsimonious representation at the daily time scale. The analysis of soil moisture, transpiration, and carbon assimilation dynamics provides an assessment of the role of soil, plant, and boundary layer characteristics on the diurnal courses of photosynthesis and transpiration rates, while the subsequent upscaling at the daily level provides a functional dependence of stomatal conductance on soil moisture that is in good agreement with field experiments. The upscaled dependence of transpiration and carbon assimilation on soil moisture is used in Part II of this paper to explore the impact of soil moisture dynamics on plant conditions when rainfall variability is explicitly considered.
Journal of Hydrometeorology – American Meteorological Society
Published: May 20, 2003
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