Trends in evapotranspiration and its drivers in Great Britain: 1961 to 2015

Blyth, Eleanor M.; Martinez-de la Torre, Alberto ORCID:; Robinson, Emma L.. 2019 Trends in evapotranspiration and its drivers in Great Britain: 1961 to 2015. Progress in Physical Geography, 43 (5). 666-693.

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In a warming climate, the water budget of the land is subject to varying forces such as increasing evaporative demand, mainly through the increased temperature, and changes to the precipitation, which might go up or down. Using a verified, physically based model with 55 years of observation-based meteorological forcing, an analysis of the water budget demonstrates that Great Britain is getting warmer and wetter. Increases in precipitation (2.96.0 ± 2.03 mm yr–1 yr–1) and air temperature (0.20 ± 0.13 K decade–1) are driving increases in runoff (2.18 ± 1.84 mm yr–1 yr–1) and evapotranspiration (0.87 ± 0.55 mm yr–1 yr–1), with no significant trend in the soil moisture. The change in evapotranspiration is roughly constant across the regions, whereas runoff varies greatly between regions: the biggest change is seen in Scotland (4.56 ± 2.82 mm yr–1 yr–1), where precipitation increases were also the greatest (5.4 ± 3.0 mm yr–1 yr–1), and the smallest trend (0.33 ± 1.50 mm yr–1 yr–1, not statistically significant) is seen in the English Lowlands (East Anglia and Midlands), where the increase in rainfall is not statistically significant (1.07 ± 1.76 mm yr–1 yr–1). Relative to its contribution to the evapotranspiration budget, the increase in interception is higher than the other components. This is due to the fact that it correlates strongly with precipitation, which is seeing a greater increase than the potential evapotranspiration. This leads to a higher increase in actual evapotranspiration than the potential evapotranspiration, and a negligible increase in soil moisture or groundwater store.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Hydro-climate Risks (Science Area 2017-)
ISSN: 0309-1333
Additional Keywords: evapotranspiration, interception, Great Britain, land surface model, trends, CHESS, JULES
NORA Subject Terms: Hydrology
Date made live: 26 Jul 2019 10:15 +0 (UTC)

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