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Assessment of multi-frequency electromagnetic induction for determining soil moisture patterns at the hillslope scale


Tromp-van Meerveld, H J; McDonnell, Jeffrey J (2009). Assessment of multi-frequency electromagnetic induction for determining soil moisture patterns at the hillslope scale. Journal of Hydrology, 368(1-4):56-67.

Abstract

Hillslopes are fundamental landscape units, yet represent a difficult scale for measurements as they are well-beyond our traditional point-scale techniques. Here we present an assessment of electromagnetic induction (EM) as a potential rapid and non-invasive method to map soil moisture patterns at the hillslope scale. We test the new multi-frequency GEM-300 for spatially distributed soil moisture measurements at the well-instrumented Panola hillslope. EM-based apparent conductivity measurements were linearly related to soil moisture measured with the Aqua-pro capacitance sensor below a threshold conductivity and represented the temporal patterns in soil moisture well. During spring rainfall events that wetted only the surface soil layers the apparent conductivity measurements explained the soil moisture dynamics at depth better than the surface soil moisture dynamics. All four EM frequencies (7.290, 9.090, 11.250, and 14.010 kHz) were highly correlated and linearly related to each other and could be used to predict soil moisture. This limited our ability to use the four different EM frequencies to obtain a soil moisture profile with depth. The apparent conductivity patterns represented the observed spatial soil moisture patterns well when the individually fitted relationships between measured soil moisture and apparent conductivity were used for each measurement point. However, when the same (master) relationship was used for all measurement locations, the soil moisture patterns were smoothed and did not resemble the observed soil moisture patterns very well. In addition the range in calculated soil moisture values was reduced compared to observed soil moisture. Part of the smoothing was likely due to the much larger measurement area of the GEM-300 compared to the soil moisture measurements.

Abstract

Hillslopes are fundamental landscape units, yet represent a difficult scale for measurements as they are well-beyond our traditional point-scale techniques. Here we present an assessment of electromagnetic induction (EM) as a potential rapid and non-invasive method to map soil moisture patterns at the hillslope scale. We test the new multi-frequency GEM-300 for spatially distributed soil moisture measurements at the well-instrumented Panola hillslope. EM-based apparent conductivity measurements were linearly related to soil moisture measured with the Aqua-pro capacitance sensor below a threshold conductivity and represented the temporal patterns in soil moisture well. During spring rainfall events that wetted only the surface soil layers the apparent conductivity measurements explained the soil moisture dynamics at depth better than the surface soil moisture dynamics. All four EM frequencies (7.290, 9.090, 11.250, and 14.010 kHz) were highly correlated and linearly related to each other and could be used to predict soil moisture. This limited our ability to use the four different EM frequencies to obtain a soil moisture profile with depth. The apparent conductivity patterns represented the observed spatial soil moisture patterns well when the individually fitted relationships between measured soil moisture and apparent conductivity were used for each measurement point. However, when the same (master) relationship was used for all measurement locations, the soil moisture patterns were smoothed and did not resemble the observed soil moisture patterns very well. In addition the range in calculated soil moisture values was reduced compared to observed soil moisture. Part of the smoothing was likely due to the much larger measurement area of the GEM-300 compared to the soil moisture measurements.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography
Dewey Decimal Classification:910 Geography & travel
Language:English
Date:2009
Deposited On:30 Apr 2015 08:30
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 19:14
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0022-1694
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhydrol.2009.01.037

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