Evaluation of Two Soil Water Redistribution Models (Finite Difference and Hourly Cascade Approach) Through The Comparison of Continuous field Sensor-Based Measurements

Monday, 15 December 2014
Rodrigo Ferreyra1, Claudio O Stockle1 and David Rhys Huggins2, (1)Washington State University, Pullman, WA, United States, (2)USDA-ARS, Land Management and Water Conservation Research, Pullman, WA, United States
Soil water storage and dynamics are of critical importance for a variety of processes in terrestrial ecosystems, including agriculture. Many of those systems are under significant pressure in terms of water availability and use. Therefore, assessing alternative scenarios through hydrological models is an increasingly valuable exercise. Soil water holding capacity is defined by the concepts of soil field capacity and plant available water, which are directly related to soil physical properties. Both concepts define the energy status of water in the root system and closely interact with plant physiological processes. Furthermore, these concepts play a key role in the environmental transport of nutrients and pollutants. Soil physical parameters (e.g. saturated hydraulic conductivity, total porosity and water release curve) are required as input for field-scale soil water redistribution models. These parameters are normally not easy to measure or monitor, and estimation through pedotransfer functions is often inadequate. Our objectives are to improve field-scale hydrological modeling by: (1) assessing new undisturbed methodologies for determining important soil physical parameters necessary for model inputs; and (2) evaluating model outputs, making a detailed specification of soil parameters and the particular boundary condition that are driving water movement under two contrasting environments.

Soil physical properties (saturated hydraulic conductivity and determination of water release curves) were quantified using undisturbed laboratory methodologies for two different soil textural classes (silt loam and sandy loam) and used to evaluate two soil water redistribution models (finite difference solution and hourly cascade approach). We will report on model corroboration results performed using in situ, continuous, field measurements with soil water content capacitance probes and digital tensiometers. Here, natural drainage and water redistribution were monitored following a controlled water application where the study areas were isolated from other water inputs and outputs. We will also report on the assessment of two soil water sensors (Decagon Devices 5TM capacitance probe and UMS T4 tensiometers) for the two soil textural classes in terms of consistency and replicability.