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Soil hydraulic properties estimation from one‐dimensional infiltration experiments using characteristic time concept

AuthorsRahmati, Mehdi; Vanderborght, Jan; Šimůnek, Jirka; Vrugt, Jasper A.; Moret-Fernández, David CSIC ORCID ; Latorre Garcés, Borja CSIC ORCID ; Lassabatere, Laurent; Vereecken, Harry
Issue DateSep-2020
PublisherSoil Science Society of America
John Wiley & Sons
CitationRahmati M, Vanderborght J, Šimůnek J, Vrugt JA, Moret‐Fernández D, Latorre B, Lassabatere L, Vereecken H. Soil hydraulic properties estimation from one‐dimensional infiltration experiments using characteristic time concept. Vadose Zone Journal 19 (1): e20068 (2020)
AbstractMany different equations ranging from simple empirical to semi‐analytical solutions of the Richards equation have been proposed for quantitative description of water infiltration into variably saturated soils. The sorptivity, S, and the saturated hydraulic conductivity, Ks, in these equations are typically unknown and have to be estimated from measured data. In this paper, we use so‐called characteristic time (tchar) to design a new method, referred to as the characteristic time method (CTM) that estimates S, and Ks, from one‐dimensional (1D) cumulative infiltration data. We demonstrate the usefulness and power of the CTM by comparing it with a suite of existing methods using synthetic cumulative infiltration data simulated by HYDRUS‐1D for 12 synthetic soils reflecting different USDA textural classes, as well as experimental data selected from the Soil Water Infiltration Global (SWIG) database. Results demonstrate that the inferred values of S and Ks are in excellent agreement with their theoretical values used in the synthetically simulated infiltration experiments with Nash–Sutcliffe criterion close to unity and RMSE values of 0.04 cm h−1/2 and 0.05 cm h−1, respectively. The CTM also showed very high accuracy when applied on synthetic data with added measurement noise, as well as robustness when applied to experimental data. Unlike previously published methods, the CTM does not require knowledge of the time validity of the applied semi‐analytical solution for infiltration and, therefore, is applicable to infiltrations with durations from 5 min to several days. A script written in Python of the CTM method is provided in the supplemental material.
Description22 Pags.- 9 Figs.- 5 Tabls. © 2020 The Authors. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Publisher version (URL)https://doi.org/10.1002/vzj2.20068
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