Articles | Volume 13, issue 10
23 Oct 2009
 | 23 Oct 2009

Field-scale apparent hydraulic parameterisation obtained from TDR time series and inverse modelling

U. Wollschläger, T. Pfaff, and K. Roth

Abstract. Due to the large heterogeneity in the hydraulic properties of natural soils, estimation of field-scale hydraulic parameters is difficult. Past research revealed that data from accurate but small-scale laboratory measurements could hardly ever be transferred to the field scale. In this study, we explore an alternative approach where apparent hydraulic properties of a layered soil profile are directly estimated from hydraulic inverse modelling of a time series of in situ measured soil water contents obtained from time domain reflectometry. The data covered a one-year period with both wet and dry soil conditions. For the time period used for inversion, the model is able to reproduce the general evolution of water content in the different soil layers reasonably well. However, distinct drying and wetting events could not be reproduced in detail which we explain by the complicated natural processes that are not fully represented in the rather simple model. The study emphasises the importance of a correct average representation of the soil-atmosphere interaction.