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Water 2018, 10(8), 1021; https://doi.org/10.3390/w10081021

Combination of Measurement Methods for a Wide-Range Description of Hydraulic Soil Properties

1
Institute of Hydraulics and Rural Water Management, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Muthgasse 18, 1190 Vienna, Austria
2
Division of Agronomy, Department of Crop Sciences, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna, Konrad Lorenz-Straße 24, 3430 Tulln, Austria
3
Institute for Integrated Management of Material Fluxes and of Resources (UNU-FLORES), United Nations University, 01067 Dresden, Germany
4
Institute of Soil Science and Site Ecology, Faculty of Environmental Sciences, TU Dresden, 01737 Tharandt, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 25 June 2018 / Revised: 24 July 2018 / Accepted: 30 July 2018 / Published: 2 August 2018
(This article belongs to the Section Hydrology)
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Abstract

Established measurement methods for hydraulic soil properties cover a limited soil moisture range. Simulations of soil water dynamics based on such observations are therefore rarely representative for all conditions from saturation to drought. Recent technical developments facilitate efficient and cheap collecting of soil water characteristics data, but the quantitative benefit of extended measurement campaigns has not been adequately tested yet. In this study, a combination of four methods to measure water retention and hydraulic conductivity at different moisture ranges was applied. Evaporation method, dewpoint psychrometry, hood infiltrometer experiments, and falling head method for saturated conductivity were conducted at two experimental sites in eastern Austria. Effects of including the particular methods in the measurement strategy were examined by visual evaluation and a 1D-modelling sensitivity study including drainage, infiltration and drought conditions. The evaporation method was considered essential due to its broad measurement range both for water retention and hydraulic conductivity. In addition to that, the highest effect on simulated water balance components was induced by the inclusion of separate conductivity measurements near saturation. Water content after three days of drainage was 15 percent higher and the transpiration rate in a drought period was 22 percent higher without near-saturated conductivity measurements. Based on relative comparisons between different combinations, we suggested combining evaporation method and hood infiltrometer experiments as the basis for representative predictions of soil water dynamics. View Full-Text
Keywords: hydraulic soil properties; soil water simulations; measurement method evaluation; functional evaluation hydraulic soil properties; soil water simulations; measurement method evaluation; functional evaluation
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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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Weninger, T.; Bodner, G.; Kreiselmeier, J.; Chandrasekhar, P.; Julich, S.; Feger, K.-H.; Schwärzel, K.; Schwen, A. Combination of Measurement Methods for a Wide-Range Description of Hydraulic Soil Properties. Water 2018, 10, 1021.

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