Soil moisture plays a fundamental role in the mass and energy balance between the land surface and the atmosphere, making its knowledge essential for several hydrological and climatic applications. The aim of this study is to extend the current knowledge of soil moisture spatial-temporal variability at the catchment scale (up to 500 km 2 ). The main implication is to provide guidelines to obtain soil moisture values representative of the mean behaviour at the medium-sized river basin scale, which is useful for remote sensing validation analysis and rainfall-runoff modeling. To this end, 23 measurements campaigns were carried out during a time span of 14 months at 20 sites located within the Upper Chiascio River Basin, a catchment with a drainage area of about 460 km 2 in the Umbria Region (central Italy). The data set allowed the analysis of both soil moisture temporal stability and its dynamics. On the basis of statistical and temporal stability approaches, it was investigated how factors such as climatic regime and geomorphology influence soil moisture behaviour. For the investigated area, the spatial variability of soil moisture was higher in dry periods with respect to wet periods, mainly due to the rainfall pattern characteristics during different periods of the year. Soil moisture values recorded during wet periods showed a better correlation than those recorded during dry periods. The maximum number of required samples, to obtain the mean areal soil moisture with an absolute error of 3% vol/vol, was found equal to 12. The temporal stability analysis showed that during wet periods just one “optimal” measurement point can provide values of soil moisture representative of the catchment-mean behaviour, while during dry periods the number of “optimal” measurement points became equal to two. Therefore, at the adopted spatial scale the use of a single measurement point can lead to significant errors. From the perspective of soil moisture dynamics, the decomposition of the spatial variance showed that the contribution of the time-invariant component (temporal mean of each site) was predominant on respect to the total spatial variance of absolute soil moisture data, for almost the whole observation period. Results provided guidance to optimize soil moisture sampling by performing targeted measurements at a few selected points representative of the catchment-mean behaviour.

Spatial-temporal variability of soil moisture: Addressing the monitoring at the catchment scale

Dari, Jacopo;Morbidelli, Renato;Saltalippi, Carla;
2019

Abstract

Soil moisture plays a fundamental role in the mass and energy balance between the land surface and the atmosphere, making its knowledge essential for several hydrological and climatic applications. The aim of this study is to extend the current knowledge of soil moisture spatial-temporal variability at the catchment scale (up to 500 km 2 ). The main implication is to provide guidelines to obtain soil moisture values representative of the mean behaviour at the medium-sized river basin scale, which is useful for remote sensing validation analysis and rainfall-runoff modeling. To this end, 23 measurements campaigns were carried out during a time span of 14 months at 20 sites located within the Upper Chiascio River Basin, a catchment with a drainage area of about 460 km 2 in the Umbria Region (central Italy). The data set allowed the analysis of both soil moisture temporal stability and its dynamics. On the basis of statistical and temporal stability approaches, it was investigated how factors such as climatic regime and geomorphology influence soil moisture behaviour. For the investigated area, the spatial variability of soil moisture was higher in dry periods with respect to wet periods, mainly due to the rainfall pattern characteristics during different periods of the year. Soil moisture values recorded during wet periods showed a better correlation than those recorded during dry periods. The maximum number of required samples, to obtain the mean areal soil moisture with an absolute error of 3% vol/vol, was found equal to 12. The temporal stability analysis showed that during wet periods just one “optimal” measurement point can provide values of soil moisture representative of the catchment-mean behaviour, while during dry periods the number of “optimal” measurement points became equal to two. Therefore, at the adopted spatial scale the use of a single measurement point can lead to significant errors. From the perspective of soil moisture dynamics, the decomposition of the spatial variance showed that the contribution of the time-invariant component (temporal mean of each site) was predominant on respect to the total spatial variance of absolute soil moisture data, for almost the whole observation period. Results provided guidance to optimize soil moisture sampling by performing targeted measurements at a few selected points representative of the catchment-mean behaviour.
2019
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11391/1449334
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