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Estimate of soil hydraulic properties from disc infiltrometer three-dimensional infiltration curve. Numerical analysis and field application

AuthorsLatorre Garcés, Borja ; Peña-Sancho, Carolina; Lassabatere, Laurent; Angulo-Jaramillo, Rafael; Moret-Fernández, David
Keywordssoil hydraulic properties
Hydraulic conductivity
Cumulative infiltration
Contact sand layer
Transient water flow
Issue DateAug-2015
CitationLatorre B, Peña C, Lassabatere L, Angulo-Jaramillo R, Moret-Fernández D. Estimate of soil hydraulic properties from disc infiltrometer three-dimensional infiltration curve. Numerical analysis and field application 527: 1–12 (2015)
AbstractBased on the analysis of Haverkamp et al. (1994), this paper presents a new technique to estimate the soil hydraulic properties (sorptivity, S, and hydraulic conductivity, K) from the full-time cumulative infiltration curves. The proposed method, which will be named as the Numerical Solution of the Haverkamp equation (NSH), was validated on 12 synthetic soils simulated with HYDRUS-3D. The K values used to simulate the synthetic curves were compared to those estimated with the NSH method. A procedure to detect and remove the effect of the contact sand layer on the cumulative infiltration curve was also developed. A sensitivity analysis was performed using the water level measurement as uncertainty source and the procedure was evaluated considering different infiltration times and data noise (e.g. air-bubbling in the infiltrometer). The good correlation between the K used in HYDRUS-3D to model the infiltration curves and those obtained by the NSH method (R2 =0.98) indicates this technique is robust enough to estimate the soil hydraulic conductivity from complete infiltration curves. The numerical procedure to detect and remove the influence of the contact sand layer on the K and S estimates resulted to be robust and efficient. A negative effect of the curve infiltration noise on the K estimate was observed. The results showed that infiltration time was an important factor to estimate K. Smaller values of K or lower uncertainty required longer infiltration times. In a second step, the technique was tested in field conditions on 266 different soils at saturation conditions, using a 10 cm diameter disc infiltrometer. The NSH method was compared to the standard differentiated linearization procedure (DL), which estimates the hydraulic parameters using the simplified Haverkamp et al. (1994) equation, valid only for short to medium times. Compared to DL, NSH was considerably less affected by the infiltration bubbling and the contact sand layer, and allowed more robust estimates of K and S. Although comparable S values were obtained with both methods, the NSH technique, which is not limited to short times, resulted in more accurate and robust estimates for K. This paper demonstrates the NSH method is a significant advance to estimate of the soil hydraulic properties from the transient water flow.
Description45 Pags.- 4 Tabls.- 5 Figs. The definitive version is available at: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/00221694
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jhydrol.2015.04.015
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