Spatial Distribution of Surface Soil Moisture in a Small Forested Catchment


Predicting the spatial distribution of soil moisture is an important hydrological question. We measured the spatial distribution of surface soil moisture (upper 6 cm) using an Amplitude Domain Reflectometry sensor at the plot scale (2 × 2 m) and small catchment scale (0.84 ha) in a temperate forest. The spatial variation of soil water content was higher during dry conditions than that during wet conditions. Results indicated 3.1 samples at the plot scale were sufficient to estimate mean soil water content when the precision was 0.1. Soil water content increased with increasing topographic index (TI) and soil-topographic index (STI) at the small catchment scale. The correlation between soil water content and TI was higher than that between soil water content and STI. This suggests that topography is more important for estimating surface soil moisture than soil depth as formation of surface soil moisture occurs at ≤6 cm.

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Noguchi, S. , Tsuboyama, Y. , Sidle, R. and Kubota, T. (2014) Spatial Distribution of Surface Soil Moisture in a Small Forested Catchment. Journal of Water Resource and Protection, 6, 1220-1227. doi: 10.4236/jwarp.2014.613111.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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