Recent developments in diffuse reflectance soil spectroscopy have increasingly focused on building and using large soil spectral libraries with the purpose of supporting many activities relevant to monitoring, mapping and managing soil resources. A potential limitation of using a mid-infrared (MIR) spectral library developed by another laboratory is the need to account for inherent differences in the signal strength at each wavelength associated with different instrumental and environmental conditions. Here we apply predictive models built using the USDA National Soil Survey Center–Kellogg Soil Survey Laboratory (NSSC-KSSL) MIR spectral library (n
= 56,155) to samples sets of European and US origin scanned on a secondary spectrometer to assess the need for calibration transfer using a piecewise direct standardization (PDS) approach in transforming spectra before predicting carbon cycle relevant soil properties (bulk density, CaCO3
, organic carbon, clay and pH). The European soil samples were from the land use/cover area frame statistical survey (LUCAS) database available through the European Soil Data Center (ESDAC), while the US soil samples were from the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON). Additionally, the performance of the predictive models on PDS transfer spectra was tested against the direct calibration models built using samples scanned on the secondary spectrometer. On independent test sets of European and US origin, PDS improved predictions for most but not all soil properties with memory based learning (MBL) models generally outperforming partial least squares regression and Cubist models. Our study suggests that while good-to-excellent results can be obtained without calibration transfer, for most of the cases presented in this study, PDS was necessary for unbiased predictions. The MBL models also outperformed the direct calibration models for most of the soil properties. For laboratories building new spectroscopy capacity utilizing existing spectral libraries, it appears necessary to develop calibration transfer using PDS or other calibration transfer techniques to obtain the least biased and most precise predictions of different soil properties.
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