Testing the maximum entropy production approach for estimating evapotranspiration from closed canopy shrubland in a low-energy humid environment

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Quantifying and partitioning evapotranspiration (ET) into evaporation (E) and transpiration (T) is challenging but important for interpreting vegetation effects on the water balance. We applied a model based on the theory of maximum entropy production (MEP) to estimate ET for shrubs for the first time in a low-energy humid headwater catchment in the Scottish Highlands. In total, 53% of rainfall over the growing season was returned to the atmosphere through ET (59±2% as transpiration), with 22% of rainfall ascribed to interception loss and understory ET. The remainder of rainfall percolated below the rooting zone. The MEP model showed good capability for total ET estimation, in addition to providing a first approximation for distinguishing E and T in such ecosystems. This study shows that this simple and low-cost approach has potential for local to regional ET estimation with availability of high-resolution hydroclimatic data. Limitations of the approach are also discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4613-4621
Number of pages9
JournalHydrological Processes
Issue number25
Early online date26 Oct 2017
Publication statusPublished - 15 Dec 2017



  • evapotranspiration
  • water balance
  • interception
  • climate change
  • northern uplands
  • maximum entropy production

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