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Eric Rappin, Rezaul Mahmood, Udaysankar Nair, Roger A. Pielke Sr., William Brown, Steve Oncley, Joshua Wurman, Karen Kosiba, Aaron Kaulfus, Chris Phillips, Emilee Lachenmeier, Joseph Santanello Jr., Edward Kim, and Patricia Lawston-Parker

Abstract

Extensive expansion in irrigated agriculture has taken place over the last half century. Due to increased irrigation and resultant land use land cover change, the central United States has seen a decrease in temperature and changes in precipitation during the second half of 20th century. To investigate the impacts of widespread commencement of irrigation at the beginning of the growing season and continued irrigation throughout the summer on local and regional weather, the Great Plains Irrigation Experiment (GRAINEX) was conducted in the spring and summer of 2018 in southeastern Nebraska. GRAINEX consisted of two, 15-day intensive observation periods. Observational platforms from multiple agencies and universities were deployed to investigate the role of irrigation in surface moisture content, heat fluxes, diurnal boundary layer evolution, and local precipitation.

This article provides an overview of the data collected and an analysis of the role of irrigation in land-atmosphere interactions on time scales from the seasonal to the diurnal. The analysis shows that a clear irrigation signal was apparent during the peak growing season in mid-July. This paper shows the strong impact of irrigation on surface fluxes, near-surface temperature and humidity, as well as boundary layer growth and decay.

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