Estimating soil water fluxes from soil water records obtained using dielectric sensors
Fernandez-Galvez, J., Verhoef, A. and Barahona, E. (2007) Estimating soil water fluxes from soil water records obtained using dielectric sensors. Hydrological Processes, 21 (20). pp. 2785-2793. ISSN 0885-6087
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1002/hyp.6494
Accurate estimation of the soil water balance (SWB) is important for a number of applications (e.g. environmental, meteorological, agronomical and hydrological). The objective of this study was to develop and test techniques for the estimation of soil water fluxes and SWB components (particularly infiltration, evaporation and drainage below the root zone) from soil water records. The work presented here is based on profile soil moisture data measured using dielectric methods, at 30-min resolution, at an experimental site with different vegetation covers (barley, sunflower and bare soil). Estimates of infiltration were derived by assuming that observed gains in the soil profile water content during rainfall were due to infiltration. Inaccuracies related to diurnal fluctuations present in the dielectric-based soil water records are resolved by filtering the data with adequate threshold values. Inconsistencies caused by the redistribution of water after rain events were corrected by allowing for a redistribution period before computing water gains. Estimates of evaporation and drainage were derived from water losses above and below the deepest zero flux plane (ZFP), respectively. The evaporation estimates for the sunflower field were compared to evaporation data obtained with an eddy covariance (EC) system located elsewhere in the field. The EC estimate of total evaporation for the growing season was about 25% larger than that derived from the soil water records. This was consistent with differences in crop growth (based on direct measurements of biomass, and field mapping of vegetation using laser altimetry) between the EC footprint and the area of the field used for soil moisture monitoring. Copyright (c) 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.