Modeling the incoming all-wave radiation in a planted trench system

Isaac Kramer, Nurit Agam, Pedro Berliner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Micro-catchment systems (MCs) are designed to harvest and utilize rainwater, with the aim of supporting crop growth in arid regions. While MCs were traditionally built with shallow infiltration basins, recent research indicates that MCs with deeper basins lose less water to the atmosphere than MCs with shallower basins. Consequently, we can expect more water to infiltrate the soil and be available to trees grown in deeper MCs than those grown in shallow MCs. The reduction in the direct water loss is owed, to a large extent, to the decreased flux of incoming shortwave radiation reaching the surface in deeper basins. The degree to which the incoming shortwave radiation reaching the floor of the MC is reduced, in turn, depends on the system's dimensions and orientation, geographical location, canopy geometry, soil properties, date, and time. We present a model that calculates the incoming all-wave (short- and longwave) radiation flux densities reaching any point on the floor of a trench MC in which trees are planted. To add to previously developed models that considered direct radiation, diffuse radiation, and direct and diffuse radiation reflected downwards from the walls of the trench, the model accounts for possible shading and attenuation of the radiation caused by the presence of a canopy in the system. We have also added the component of longwave radiation, considering longwave radiation emitted from the atmosphere, from the canopy of trees planted within the system, and from the trench walls. We validated the model by comparing modeled results to field measurements inside a planted trench system. We used pyranometers to measure the incoming shortwave radiation and a 4-way net radiometer for the incoming longwave. Our results indicate that the model accurately depicts the diurnal course of shortwave and longwave radiation at different points on the floor of a N-S oriented trench MC and for different solar elevation angles. Simulations for the Negev Desert revealed that the presence of a canopy can strongly influence which trench configurations lead to the greatest decreases in incoming shortwave radiation. When a large canopy is present and the trench is wide, less radiation reaches the ground in N-S oriented trenches than in E-W oriented trenches. While the incoming longwave radiation at the bottom of the trench MC is higher than that on an equivalent horizontal surface at ground level, this increase is not enough to offset the decrease in shortwave radiation. The simulations indicate that the total incoming all-wave radiation (combined shortwave and longwave) inside trenches is less than that outside.

Original languageEnglish
Article number107834
JournalAgricultural and Forest Meteorology
StatePublished - 15 Feb 2020


  • Micro-catchments
  • Radiation model
  • Trench orientation
  • Water harvesting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Forestry
  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Atmospheric Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Modeling the incoming all-wave radiation in a planted trench system'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this