How shallow and how many points of measurements are sufficient to estimate the deep profile mean soil water content of a hillslope in the Loess Plateau?

A - Papers appearing in refereed journals

Zhang, Y., Huang, M., Hu, W., Suo, L., Duan, L. and Wu, L. 2018. How shallow and how many points of measurements are sufficient to estimate the deep profile mean soil water content of a hillslope in the Loess Plateau? Geoderma. 314, pp. 85-94.

AuthorsZhang, Y., Huang, M., Hu, W., Suo, L., Duan, L. and Wu, L.
Abstract

Soil water content (SWC) measurements for deep soil profiles involve large and expensive expenditures of time and labor. However, understanding of soil water dynamics for deep soil profiles is very important for soil and water resource management and hydrological modeling. This study was aimed at (1) testing whether the mean SWC for the deep profile of a hillslope could be well estimated using the SWC measurements only made at a limited number of time stable locations (TSLs), which were identified from the SWC measurements of the shallow profile (i.e., within 0–100cm) and (2) subsequently determining the optimal depth of the shallow profile and the optimal number of TSLs using the relative bias to the mean (RBM) SWC and the corrected Akaike information criterion (AICc). SWC in the 0–300cm profile was measured at 40 locations along a 243m long transect on a hillslope where is located in the semiarid region of the Chinese Loess Plateau with a mean annual precipitation (MAP) of 437mm. A total of 46 SWC measurements made over three growing seasons at each location were divided into the calibration and validation periods. The same method was repeated on the other two hillslopes in the semiarid and semi-humid regions with the MAP of 505 and 580mm, respectively, for further assessing the effect of soil moisture conditions on the optimal number of TSLs and the optimal depth of the shallow profile. Results indicated that there were significantly correlations between the spatial patterns of SWC in the shallow soil profiles (0–10, 0–20, …, 0–100cm) and that in the 0–300cm deep soil profile (p<0.01), and the mean SWC in the deep profile on the hillslope could be well estimated using the SWC measurements only at several TSLs identified from the SWC measurements in the shallow soil profile (within 0–100cm depth). Moreover, the optimal number of TSLs and the optimal depth of the shallow profile varied with soil moisture conditions. In the semiarid region, the optimal depth of the shallow profile was 0–40cm and the optimal number of TSLs varied from 2 to 3; in the semi-humid region, the optimal depth of the shallow profile was 0–30cm and the optimal number of TSLs was 3. The RBM values between the predicted and measured mean SWCs in the 0–300cm deep profile during the calibration and validation periods were in the range of 1.6 to 4.0% on three hillslopes, which are regarded as the acceptable prediction accuracy in the hydrology community. The proposed approach could greatly reduce the expenditures of time and cost in monitoring the mean SWC for the deep profile at various spatial scales and could be applied well to the regions with similar hydrological and climatic conditions.

KeywordsTime stability analysis; Mean relative difference; Transect; Loess plateau
Year of Publication2018
JournalGeoderma
Journal citation314, pp. 85-94
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:10.1016/j.geoderma.2017.11.013
Open accessPublished as non-open access
FunderNatural Environment Research Council
National Natural Science Foundation of China
Funder project or codeModelling and managing critical zone relationships between soil, water and ecosystem processes across the Loess Plateau
41571130082
41571213
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Print13 Nov 2017
Publication process dates
Accepted05 Nov 2017
PublisherElsevier Science Bv
Copyright licenseCC BY
ISSN0016-7061

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