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Factors regulating spatial distribution of soil water content in a small semiarid catchment

AuthorsGómez-Plaza, A.; Martínez-Mena García, M. Dolores ; Albaladejo Montoro, Juan; Castillo Sánchez, Victor Manuel
KeywordsSoil water content
Spatial variability
Wetness index
Issue Date15-Nov-2001
CitationJournal of Hydrology 253(1-4): 212-227 (2001)
AbstractThe factors which control soil moisture patterns in a semiarid area are determined in two different locations: a burnt zone with little vegetation and an unburnt zone with a greater vegetal cover. In the burnt area, the factors affecting the spatial variability of the soil water content are those considered as local controls such as soil texture and slope. These factors are able to explain a significant part of the spatial distribution of soil moisture in this zone independently of the soil moisture state. In the unburnt area, the factors affecting soil moisture were those related with the presence or absence of vegetation in semiarid environments. The upslope contributing area, aspect, soil profile curvature and soil depth best explained the spatial variability of the soil moisture content in the vegetated zone. The actual influence of these factors showed marked seasonal variations due to changes in the physiological activity of the vegetal cover. These factors, which are in part responsible for the distribution of soil moisture, are not commonly integrated in traditional topographic wetness indices. The topographic index of Beven and Kirkby (Beven, K.J., Kirkby, M., 1979. Hydrological Sciences Bulletin 24, 43–69) is extended to account for the interstorm soil water losses. The new indices incorporating the hillslope aspect improve the prediction power of soil water content patterns in semiarid areas.
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0022-1694(01)00483-8
Appears in Collections:(CEBAS) Artículos
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