Evaluation of the WAVE Model for Predicting Nitrate Leaching for Two Contrasted Soil and Climate Conditions

  • Duwig C
  • Normand B
  • Vauclin M
 et al. 
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vere problems of pollution resulting from intensive agri-culture. However, the modeling exercise is not a simple The integrated soil–crop–atmosphere model Water and Agrochem-icals in the Vadose Environment (WAVE) (Vanclooster et al., 1995) one because the fate of N is determined by many physi-was evaluated for two contrasted sets of data. One was from the trop-cal, chemical, and biological processes that can vary ical climate and ferrallitic soil conditions that exist in Maré Island, tremendously in time and space. Addiscott and Wagenet in New Caledonia. The other was from a glacial terrace under the (1985) noted that the many N models also differ mark-continental climate of La Cô te Saint-André (Isère) in France. Water and edly, depending on the background and expertise of the NO 3 concentrations and fluxes were monitored during three consecu-developers, as well as the questions and problems the tive years at instrumented sites with different surface covers (maize models are trying to solve. Only a few holistic models [Zea mays L.] or bare soil) or amount of applied fertilizer. The com-that describe each process in detail with the same level of prehensive set of measurements allowed us to evaluate the prediction capabilities of the WAVE model. Several parameters were determined complexity have been published. These holistic models, independently, while others were adjusted on the basis of simulations while being more complex, still face limitations in terms for the wettest year at Maré and an average hydrological year at La of parameterization and validation. Cô te Saint-André . A stepwise approach was used to calibrate these WAVE, developed by Vanclooster et al. (1994), is a parameters by sequentially integrating each individual model compo-model that is both mechanistic and deterministic. This nent. A screening sensitivity analysis was performed to address the most model was initially developed and evaluated under tem-critical parameters. The predictive ability of the model was evaluated perate climate conditions (Vanclooster et al., 1995; Du-by comparing simulated and measured states variables and water and cheyne and Feyen, 1999; Meiresonne et al., 1999; Du-NO 3 fluxes using two different years of data obtained at the same cheyne et al., 2001). Often, models are evaluated only sites. For both sites, the model gave the best results for wet conditions, which actually posed the most critical problems in terms of groundwa-by their developers at the site for which the model was ter pollution under our specific conditions. However, the model was developed. According to Thorsen et al. (1998), a model used beyond its capacity as both soils had specificities for which the cannot generally be validated, but must be tested under model was not designed. Overall, WAVE gave quite good predictions, all the conditions for which it will be used, that is, for but further studies are needed to fully evaluate WAVE with its crop different soil, climate, and crop conditions. We chose to growth model, SUCROS. evaluate WAVE using two comprehensive sets of data from very different field and climate situations. One was from the tropical climate and soil pedological conditions O ne consequence of the dramatic change in the that exist in the Loyalty Islands of New Caledonia. The agricultural sector in the last several decades has other was from the continental climate of La Cô te Saint-been the intensive use of agrochemicals, which is not André (Isè re) in France, on a glacial terrace. always in harmony with ecological constraints. Nitrogen Following a description of the field experiments, we is a key crop nutrient. Any shortage of N results directly give a brief overview of the WAVE model and describe in reduced crop growth and loss of income to farmers. the calibration procedure used to determine suitable val-Hence farmers often increase their use of fertilizer to ues for some of the unknown model parameters based maximize the growth of their crops. As a consequence, on data from one specific year. The predictive capacity the mobility of some N compounds in the environment of WAVE is then evaluated against measurements ac-has become a crucial component to be studied. Any quired during two other years. The results of a sensitivity leaching of mobile NO 3 beyond the root zone can be-analysis of the main parameters are also presented. come an unwanted contaminant in drinking water. The need for modeling N fate in the soil–crop– atmosphere system is now widely accepted. Many mod-MATERIALS AND METHODS els of different types and for different applications (Ad-Field Experiments discott and Wagenet, 1985; Wagenet and Hutson, 1989; Two intensive experiments were conducted during three

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  • Céline Duwig

  • Béatrice Normand

  • Michel Vauclin

  • Georges Vachaud

  • Steven R Green

  • Thierry Becquer

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