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Open access

Martin Wegehenkel and Horst H. Gerke

Abstract

Weighing lysimeters can be used for studying the soil water balance and to analyse evapotranspiration (ET). However, not clear was the impact of the bottom boundary condition on lysimeter results and soil water movement. The objective was to analyse bottom boundary effects on the soil water balance. This analysis was carried out for lysimeters filled with fine- and coarse-textured soil monoliths by comparing simulated and measured data for lysimeters with a higher and a lower water table. The eight weighable lysimeters had a 1 m2 grass-covered surface and a depth of 1.5 m. The lysimeters contained four intact monoliths extracted from a sandy soil and four from a soil with a silty-clay texture. For two lysimeters of each soil, constant water tables were imposed at 135 cm and 210 cm depths. Evapotranspiration, change in soil water storage, and groundwater recharge were simulated for a 3-year period (1996 to 1998) using the Hydrus-1D software. Input data consisted of measured weather data and crop model-based simulated evaporation and transpiration. Snow cover and heat transport were simulated based on measured soil temperatures. Soil hydraulic parameter sets were estimated (i) from soil core data and (ii) based on texture data using ROSETTA pedotransfer approach. Simulated and measured outflow rates from the sandy soil matched for both parameter sets. For the sand lysimeters with the higher water table, only fast peak flow events observed on May 4, 1996 were not simulated adequately mainly because of differences between simulated and measured soil water storage caused by ET-induced soil water storage depletion. For the silty-clay soil, the simulations using the soil hydraulic parameters from retention data (i) were matching the lysimeter data except for the observed peak flows on May, 4, 1996, which here probably resulted from preferential flow. The higher water table at the lysimeter bottom resulted in higher drainage in comparison with the lysimeters with the lower water table. This increase was smaller for the finer-textured soil as compared to the coarser soil.

Open access

Miroslav Fér, Martin Leue, Radka Kodešová, Horst H. Gerke and Ruth H. Ellerbrock

Abstract

The organo-mineral coatings of soil aggregates, cracks, and biopores control sorption and macropore-matrix exchange during preferential flow, in particular in the clay-illuvial Bt-horizon of Luvisols. The soil organic matter (SOM) composition has been hypothesized to explain temporal changes in the hydraulic properties of aggregate surfaces. The objective of this research was to find relations between the temporal change in wettability, in terms of droplet infiltration dynamics, and the SOM composition of coated and uncoated aggregate surfaces. We used 20 to 40 mm sized soil aggregates from the Bt2 horizon of a Haplic Luvisol from loess that were (i) coated, (ii) not coated (both intact), and (iii) aggregates from which coatings were removed (cut). The SOM composition of the aggregate surfaces was characterized by infrared spectroscopy in the diffuse reflection mode (DRIFT). A potential wettability index (PWI) was calculated from the ratio of hydrophobic and hydrophilic functional groups in SOM. The water drop penetration times (WDPT) and contact angles (CA) during droplet infiltration experiments were determined on dry and moist aggregate samples of the three types. The decrease in the CA with time was described using the power function (CA(t) = at−b). For dry aggregates, the WDPT values were larger for coated as compared to uncoated regions on the aggregate surfaces, and increased with increasing PWI value (R 2 = 0.75). The a parameter was significantly related to the WDPT (R 2 = 0.84) and to the PWI (R 2 = 0.64). The relations between the b parameter and the WDPT (R 2 = 0.61) and the PWI (R 2 = 0.53) were also significant. The WDPT values of wet soil aggregates were higher than those of dry aggregates due to high water contents, which limited the droplet infiltration potential. At the wet aggregate surfaces, the WDPT values increased with the PWI of the SOM (R 2 = 0.64). In contrast to dry samples, no significant relationships were found between parameters a or b of CA(t) and WDPT or PWI for wet aggregate surfaces. The results suggest that the effect of the SOM composition of coatings on surface wettability decreases with increasing soil moisture. In addition to the dominant impact of SOM, the wettability of aggregate surfaces could be affected by different mineralogical compositions of clay in coatings and interiors of aggregates. Particularly, wettability of coatings could be decreased by illite which was the dominant clay type in coatings. However, the influence of different clay mineral fractions on surface wettability was not due to small number of measurements (2 and 1 samples from coatings and interiors, respectively) quantified.

Open access

Martin Wegehenkel and Horst H. Gerke

Abstract

Although the quantification of real evapotranspiration (ETr) is a prerequisite for an appropriate estimation of the water balance, precision and uncertainty of such a quantification are often unknown. In our study, we tested a combined growth and soil water balance model for analysing the temporal dynamics of ETr. Simulated ETr, soil water storage and drainage rates were compared with those measured by 8 grass-covered weighable lysimeters for a 3-year period (January 1, 1996 to December 31, 1998). For the simulations, a soil water balance model based on the Darcy-equation and a physiological-based growth model for grass cover for the calculation of root water uptake were used. Four lysimeters represented undisturbed sandy soil monoliths and the other four were undisturbed silty-clay soil monoliths. The simulated ETr-rates underestimated the higher ETr-rates observed in the summer periods. For some periods in early and late summer, the results were indicative for oasis effects with lysimeter-measured ETr-rates higher than corresponding calculated rates of potential grass reference evapotranspiration. Despite discrepancies between simulated and observed lysimeter drainage, the simulation quality for ETr and soil water storage was sufficient in terms of the Nash-Sutcliffe index, the modelling efficiency index, and the root mean squared error. The use of a physiological-based growth model improved the ETr estimations significantly.

Open access

Massimo Iovino, Rafael Angulo-Jaramillo, Vincenzo Bagarello, Horst H. Gerke, Jay Jabro and Laurent Lassabatere