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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: INTEGRATION OF CLIMATE VARIABILITY AND FORECASTS INTO RISK-BASED MANAGEMENT TOOLS FOR AGRICULTURE PRODUCTION AND RESOURCE CONSERVATION

Location: Great Plains Agroclimate and Natural Resources Research Unit

Title: Impact of the 2005-2006 drought on soil water content under a tall grass prairie at Fort Reno, Oklahoma.

Authors
item GARBRECHT, JURGEN
item SCHNEIDER, JEANNE
item Brown, Glenn - OKLAHOMA STATE UNIV.

Submitted to: Environmental and Water Resources Institute World Congress Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: April 1, 2007
Publication Date: May 15, 2007
Citation: Garbrecht, J.D., Schneider, J.M., Brown, G.O. 2007. Impact of the 2005-2006 drought on soil water content under a tall grass prairie at Fort Reno, Oklahoma. In: Kabbes, K.C., editor. Proceedings of Environmental and Water Resources Institute World Congress, Session on Climate Change Variability and Drought III, May 15-17, 2007, Tampa, Florida. 2007 CD-ROM.

Interpretive Summary: Soil moisture depletion is an early consequence of drought. Depletion of soil moisture stresses rangeland, pastures and rainfed crops, hence the often used name “agricultural drought”. This study examined changes in the seasonal pattern of soil moisture under a tall grass prairie in central Oklahoma as a result of the 2005-2006 drought. The seasonal pattern of soil moisture in the top 50 cm of the soil profile was minimally impacted by the drought, as this portion of the profile was recharged by sporadic precipitation events. However, no moisture reached the soil profile below 50 cm after June 2005, as all precipitation was intercepted and held by the top soil layer and rapidly consumed by the plants. The dry conditions in the lower soil profile have led to an agricultural drought through 2006 that may persist for some period after the precipitation returns to normal levels and until the lower portion of the soil profile is recharged to provide a moisture pool that prairie grasses can tap during the summer growing season.

Technical Abstract: This study examined changes in the seasonal pattern of soil water content under a tall grass prairie in central Oklahoma as a result of the 2005-2006 drought. The seasonal pattern of soil water content in the top 50 cm of the soil profile was minimally impacted by the drought, as this portion of the profile was recharged by sporadic precipitation events. However, no moisture reached the soil profile below 50 cm after June 2005, as all precipitation was intercepted and held by the top soil layer and rapidly consumed by evapotranspiration. The dry conditions in the lower soil profile have led to an agricultural drought in 2006 that may persist for some period after the precipitation returns to normal levels and until the lower portion of the soil profile is recharged to provide a moisture pool that prairie grasses can tap during the summer growing season.

Last Modified: 8/27/2014
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