Articles | Volume 18, issue 7
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 18, 2543–2557, 2014
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 18, 2543–2557, 2014

Research article 04 Jul 2014

Research article | 04 Jul 2014

Kalman filters for assimilating near-surface observations into the Richards equation – Part 3: Retrieving states and parameters from laboratory evaporation experiments

H. Medina1, N. Romano2, and G. B. Chirico2 H. Medina et al.
  • 1Department of Basic Sciences, Agrarian University of Havana, Havana, Cuba
  • 2Department of Agricultural Engineering, University of Naples Federico II, Naples, Italy

Abstract. The purpose of this work is to evaluate the performance of a dual Kalman filter procedure in retrieving states and parameters of a one-dimensional soil water budget model based on the Richards equation, by assimilating near-surface soil water content values during evaporation experiments carried out under laboratory conditions. The experimental data set consists of simultaneously measured evaporation rates, soil water content and matric potential profiles. The parameters identified by assimilating the data measured at 1 and 2 cm soil depths are in very good agreement with those obtained by exploiting the observations carried out in the entire soil profiles. A reasonably good correspondence has been found between the parameter values obtained from the proposed assimilation technique and those identified by applying a non-sequential parameter estimation method. The dual Kalman filter also performs well in retrieving the water state in the porous system. Bias and accuracy of the predicted state profiles are affected by observation depth changes, particularly for the experiments involving low state vertical gradients. The assimilation procedure proved flexible and very stable in both experimental cases, independently from the selected initial conditions and the involved uncertainty.