Article

Ontology-based simulation of water flow in organic soils applied to Florida sugarcane

Agricultural Water Management (Impact Factor: 2.2). 01/2010; 97(1):112-122. DOI: 10.1016/j.agwat.2009.08.019
Source: RePEc

ABSTRACT An ontology-based simulation (OntoSim) is a unique data modeling environment where soil-plant-nutrient processes are represented as database objects and the user-defined relationships among objects are used to generate computer code (Java) for running the simulation. The aim of this study was to model hydrologic processes of sugarcane-grown organic soils utilizing OntoSim in the Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA) of South Florida. This OntoSim-Sugarcane model describes the complex hydrology of sub-irrigation and open ditch drainage commonly used on Florida farms. Model calibration was conducted by (i) selecting rectangular farm water management units (<12ha), which are encompassed with farm ditches, from two farms in the EAA, (ii) assembling all relevant input data including water tables (WT) recorded at the monitoring farm well of each unit, and (iii) optimizing the fits between the simulated and observed daily WT during two consecutive water years (WY). By calibrating two site-specific parameters - lateral saturated hydraulic conductivities of soil profiles and vertical saturated hydraulic conductivity of the underlying limestone bedrock - good agreement between simulated and observed daily WT was obtained (Nash-Sutcliffe efficiency coefficient >0.65; coefficient of residual mass <1%) within the units during WY96-97 (May 1995-April 1997). The validation of the model during subsequent WY98-99 at both units also showed Nash-Sutcliffe efficiency >0.55 and coefficient of residual mass <3%. It indicated that OntoSim-Sugarcane is able to simulate daily fluctuations of WT within the farm units and estimate lateral drainage/sub-irrigation and deep seepage that significantly contribute to the water balance at farms in the EAA. Thus, it can be a promising management tool to provide farmers with accurate assessment of water movement in this agricultural area.

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