Modeling daily soil salinity dynamics in response to agricultural and environmental changes in coastal Bangladesh

Payo, Andres; Lázár, Attila N.; Clarke, Derek; Nicholls, Robert J.; Bricheno, Lucy; Mashfiqus, Salehin; Haque, Anisul. 2017 Modeling daily soil salinity dynamics in response to agricultural and environmental changes in coastal Bangladesh. Earth's Future, 5 (5). 495-514.

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Understanding the dynamics of salt movement in the soil is a prerequisite for devising appropriate management strategies for land productivity of coastal regions, especially low-lying delta regions, which support many millions of farmers around the world. At present, there are no numerical models able to resolve soil salinity at regional scale and at daily time steps. In this research, we develop a novel holistic approach to simulate soil salinization comprising an emulator-based soil salt and water balance calculated at daily time steps. The method is demonstrated for the agriculture areas of coastal Bangladesh (∼20,000 km2). This shows that we can reproduce the dynamics of soil salinity under multiple land uses, including rice crops, combined shrimp and rice farming, as well as non-rice crops. The model also reproduced well the observed spatial soil salinity for the year 2009. Using this approach, we have projected the soil salinity for three different climate ensembles, including relative sea-level rise for the year 2050. Projected soil salinity changes are significantly smaller than other reported projections. The results suggest that inter-season weather variability is a key driver of salinization of agriculture soils at coastal Bangladesh.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
ISSN: 23284277
Additional Keywords: agriculture; deltas; groundwater; flooding; system model
Date made live: 23 Aug 2017 15:50 +0 (UTC)

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