Impacts of irrigation on a precipitation event during GRAINEX in the High Plains Aquifer Region

Daniel Whitesel, Rezaul Mahmood, Paul Flanagan, Eric Rappin, Udaysankar Nair, Roger A. Pielke, Michael Hayes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Land use land cover change, including irrigation, impacts weather and climate. In this paper a precipitation event that occurred on the morning of 23 July 2018 during the Great Plains Irrigation Experiment (GRAINEX) is investigated. Six Weather and Research Forecasting (WRF) model-based experiments were conducted, which involved the increase or decrease of soil moisture by 5 % and up to 15 % over the irrigated croplands. These changes approximated soil moisture content in response to different levels of irrigation applications. An additional experiment, where irrigated land use was changed to grassland, was conducted to capture pre-irrigation land use and its impacts. It was found that regardless of strength of irrigation, precipitation decreased. In addition, the model did not produce precipitation over non-irrigated land use. When grassland replaced irrigated agriculture, increases in precipitation were estimated. With increased irrigation, latent heat flux increased compared to the control simulation and decreased when irrigation decreased. On the other hand, sensible heat flux was decreased compared to control when irrigation increased. The planetary boundary layer over irrigated land use was shallower than over non-irrigated land use while over grassland it was higher than irrigated but lower than non-irrigated land use. The changes in precipitation, the surface energy balance, and the planetary boundary layer served as a reminder of irrigation's complex effects on the atmosphere. Additional analysis of other precipitation events during GRAINEX would be helpful to better understand the effects of irrigation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number109854
JournalAgricultural and Forest Meteorology
StatePublished - Feb 15 2024


  • Irrigation
  • Precipitation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Forestry
  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Atmospheric Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Impacts of irrigation on a precipitation event during GRAINEX in the High Plains Aquifer Region'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this