Accessibility navigation

Comparing sampling needs for variograms of soil properties computed by the method of moments and residual maximum likelihood

Kerry, R. and Oliver, M.A. (2007) Comparing sampling needs for variograms of soil properties computed by the method of moments and residual maximum likelihood. Geoderma, 140 (4). pp. 383-396. ISSN 0016-7061

Full text not archived in this repository.

It is advisable to refer to the publisher's version if you intend to cite from this work. See Guidance on citing.

To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/j.geoderma.2007.04.019


It has been generally accepted that the method of moments (MoM) variogram, which has been widely applied in soil science, requires about 100 sites at an appropriate interval apart to describe the variation adequately. This sample size is often larger than can be afforded for soil surveys of agricultural fields or contaminated sites. Furthermore, it might be a much larger sample size than is needed where the scale of variation is large. A possible alternative in such situations is the residual maximum likelihood (REML) variogram because fewer data appear to be required. The REML method is parametric and is considered reliable where there is trend in the data because it is based on generalized increments that filter trend out and only the covariance parameters are estimated. Previous research has suggested that fewer data are needed to compute a reliable variogram using a maximum likelihood approach such as REML, however, the results can vary according to the nature of the spatial variation. There remain issues to examine: how many fewer data can be used, how should the sampling sites be distributed over the site of interest, and how do different degrees of spatial variation affect the data requirements? The soil of four field sites of different size, physiography, parent material and soil type was sampled intensively, and MoM and REML variograms were calculated for clay content. The data were then sub-sampled to give different sample sizes and distributions of sites and the variograms were computed again. The model parameters for the sets of variograms for each site were used for cross-validation. Predictions based on REML variograms were generally more accurate than those from MoM variograms with fewer than 100 sampling sites. A sample size of around 50 sites at an appropriate distance apart, possibly determined from variograms of ancillary data, appears adequate to compute REML variograms for kriging soil properties for precision agriculture and contaminated sites. (C) 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science
Interdisciplinary centres and themes > Soil Research Centre
ID Code:3700
Uncontrolled Keywords:variogram; residual maximum likelihood (REML); method of moments (MoM); prediction; sampling
Additional Information: Conference Information: Pedometrics Meeting 2005 Naples, FL, SEP 12-14, 2005

University Staff: Request a correction | Centaur Editors: Update this record

Page navigation