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Forests 2016, 7(8), 154; doi:10.3390/f7080154

Spatial Variability of Soil Moisture in a Forest Catchment: Temporal Trend and Contributors

1
Department of Hydraulic Engineering, State Key Laboratory of Hydroscience and Engineering, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, China
2
Department of Environmental Engineering and Earth Sciences, Laboratory of Hydrogeoscience and Biological Engineering, L.G. Rich Environmental Laboratory, Clemson University, 342 Computer Court, Anderson, SC 29625, USA
3
Ministry of Education Key Laboratory for Earth System Modeling, Center of Earth System Science, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Dave Verbyla and Timothy A. Martin
Received: 17 March 2016 / Revised: 11 July 2016 / Accepted: 11 July 2016 / Published: 28 July 2016
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Abstract

Understanding the spatio-temporal dynamic of soil moisture is critical in hydrological and other land surface related studies. Until recently, however, there have been controversies about the relationship between spatial mean and spatial variance of soil moisture and the contributions of each of these factors to spatial variability. Therefore, in this study, spatial variability of soil moisture in a 7 km2 forest catchment is analyzed by time-series data on soil moisture obtained at a total of 12 observation sites. Results showed that soil moisture spatial mean and spatial variance varied almost synchronously and in three cyclic patterns during the monitoring period from 1 April 2015 to 31 October 2015. The spatial mean-variance relationship during the ascending and descending periods of spatial mean could be well-fitted by upward and downward convex quadratic curves, respectively, indicating possible clockwise hysteresis of this relationship. It was found that all through the monitoring period, contributions of time-invariant factors on total spatial variance increased from 68.9% to 88.2% with depth, and temporally stable ranking of sites was obtained. Because of the high spatial variation of soil moisture in our study area, it should be noted that a large number of sample plots would be needed to adequately estimate the spatial variability of soil moisture. View Full-Text
Keywords: soil moisture; spatial variability; forest; catchment soil moisture; spatial variability; forest; catchment
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Peng, Z.; Tian, F.; Hu, H.; Zhao, S.; Tie, Q.; Sheng, H.; Darnault, C.; Lu, H. Spatial Variability of Soil Moisture in a Forest Catchment: Temporal Trend and Contributors. Forests 2016, 7, 154.

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