|I have read the new version of the manuscript as well as the authors’ response to earlier comments received from reviewers or volunteers. |
I can say that the manuscript is undoubtedly in better shape than it earlier was. To me it reads much more smoothly. As of the factor of novelty, I don’t think that we are already at the stage in this field when this study and this data set cannot provide sufficiently new information. Novel information has now been pointed out better, and the publication of the data set is of great additional value. I have two points of significance and a few small remaining comments that I’m asking the authors and editors to consider before accepting the paper’s final version.
1. The authors received comments on the matter of ‘field scale’. They agreed to remove this term from the title, but the question points beyond the title. The study still suggests that this is field scale, while e.g. earlier studies (PTF studies) were concerned of a much smaller scale. The fact is that both types of studies are concerned of the same scale. Indeed, many PTF studies stop at testing findings at the same sample scale, but many others attempt to conclude about information or phenomena at a larger scale, even above field scale. Both those PTF studies and this study are supported by samples of the same size and scale. In fact, pF rings are typically even taller than those used in this study, i.e. lots of PTF studies rely on larger samples. This needs to be resolved, preferably by removing the field scale notion from the paper entirely – unless that aspect is really well supported.
2. I feel that the authors push to position themselves away from PTFs. This seems to be apparent by the sum of comments made about earlier PTF works, e.g. on how much data is needed, what ‘scale’ those are developed for, and most importantly those they cannot predict macropore flow. Latter is true, but the authors need to remain objective and modest about what this paper really is. This is just as much a PTF study as all those referred earlier studies are. It carries all those characters, all the strength and all the weaknesses that those earlier studies do. The only substantial difference is in what the inputs and outputs are, and the methodology how those were obtained. Otherwise, the sample size/scale is the same, the study is based on a collection of 65 local samples (vs. limited data – see minor comment below), and the authors present regression equations between soil properties (Table 2, Figure 8). Please also see additional comment below on P12, L23. Please revise the manuscript to remove the ‘us’ and ‘them’ attitude and present this study by what it is: a PTF work with novel data support. This means revising the text everywhere where there is commenting on PTF data support, scale, etc.
3. Some of the earlier reviewer comments given were responded to as ‘Done’, while it is apparent from the manuscript’s new version that they were not done. I assume they were forgotten, e.g. comments 5, 8, 29 of reviewer 4. They all should be checked again.
P2, L4: due to its inherently
P3, L2: for the partitioning
P3, L23: ‘higher’ should preferably be replaced with ‘greater’ in this context. This is applicable to the whole manuscript, please check consistently.
P4, L21.23: here I have a problem with the ‘field scale’
P4, L24: development of new imaging techniques or depelopments in imaging
P5, L12-13: neither is your study conducted at the field scale!
P5, L12-13: how many samples mean ‘limited’, and how many don’t? Better avoid such statements I think, because with the technology developing, 65 samples will soon be referred to as ‘limited data’.
P5, L22-26: again, the ‘limited number’ statement would be good to avoid.
P5, L22.26: To me this sentence is misplaced, and should better be built in somewhere before the ‘second and novel part’ sentence (or even earlier, maybe in the previous paragraph) as something identified from the literature search, which you will then address in this study.
P6, L15: How does the 15 by 15 grid cited here compare to the grid presented in Figure 2? Or is 15m the spacing, between 2 points in Fig 2? Then state that you had a 12x5 rectangle with 15m spacing + 5 points in between, apparently.
P8, L22-23: Soil texture was determined from disturbed soil samples using a combination of wet sieving and the hydrometer method, after passing the sample through a 2-mm sieve.
P10, L9-10: this does not answer the original comment – still no statement similar to what has been in the response file.
P11, L4: from 14 to 19%
P11, L26: out of the 4 marked
P12, L11: still incorrect, those studies did not predict kw, you converted them from Ksat.
P12, L15-16: narrow range of saturated water permeability was predicted.
P12, L16: …a wide range
P12, L17: The primary reason for the failure of the…
P12, L23: PTFs are not developed for the scale of a horizon necessarily, just samples are taken from horizons for some practical considerations. In the same sense, all of these samples from 5-8.5 depth are representative of the A horizon, so there is just as much reason to classify your study under the same umbrella with those PTF studies. This is again a reason why I don’t see this study to be so far from PTF studies that the authors try to distance it from.
P12, L24-25: …developing empirical models for the prediction…
P12, L26: From those, we have tested …
P13, L5: instead of ‘past century’ use ‘previous century’, or ‘20th century’
P13, L5: models for the prediction
P15, L2: in the soil column
P15, L6: CT-derived macroporosity (Figure 8).
P15, L6-7: I still think that there should be a better term found for “two-branch system data trend”
P15, L8: by ‘upper branch’, are you referring to the branch ‘showing greater permeability’ (or whatever applies)? Use more precise references to the data.
P15, L10 and L12: they are first marked in Figure 2, aren’t they? That is where you introduce them.
P15, L10-12 (two instances): replace ‘fall under this branch’ with e.g. ‘are members of this branch’ – or something similar in meaning.
P15, L13: for the two categories
P15, L14: replace ‘reflected’ with ‘suggests’
P16, L4-5: Significant strong power regressions… this sentence should be revised/replaced for various reasons (also for two-branch system)
P16, L5: Similarly
P16, L5-7: This significant increase is relative to what? Include in the sentence.
P16, L19: What is an ‘independent significant power regression’? Rephrase.
P17, L21: was found to be the key predictor that yielded the highest adjusted R2 value…. among all macropore flow parameters….
P18, L1: predictors of macropore flow in the future
P19, L6-7: Existing empirical models overpredicted saturated water permeability in case of …. And underpredicted it in case of…. (However, I need to add that your models are empirical too, so a different term may be better).
P19, L16: Total macroporosity
P19, L23: replace ‘data’ with ‘image’
Figure headings: are Figure 4 an 5 headings mixed up?