|The changes in the main text of the manuscript and in the abstract accommodate most of my main concerns (but see below). I would like to emphasize again that I like the idea, I like the data. I would like this research to be published. However, I strongly disagree with some parts of the presentation.|
The authors prefer to stick with the original message, which is a choice I still do not support. The authors claim that excellent research during the last decades on that topic (no references given) has already shown what they have shown. I disagree. This is a one of a kind experimental setup investigating for the first time that soil moisture response after rainfall can be explained by vegetation properties. This is a very good study, and a great idea for making this point. In my opinion the authors give the best part of their contribution away for a less interesting and less validated alternative. After the revision I am still not convinced otherwise.
If the authors prefer to stick with the current story, I find that a change of the title is warranted, e.g. by including „a potential method“ . Be creative. But I find it unjust to claim in the title that a method for interception measurement is presented when direct validation was not part of the study. The argument that interception data from similar vegetation are available is circular. This does show that the results are in the ballpark and plausible. I am not doubting this. But in the end the paper compares the derived differences in interception between measurement places, and no data exist to validate those smaller differences. They could alternatively be due to soil properties, and in absence of direct data . Acknowledging this does not take anything away from the study.
Also, the message of some of the cited papers in the new version is somewhat distorted to the point where I find it an unfaithful representation of the original research (see below). This should be repaired.
The response did not address the raised concern. The concern is that given the spatial heterogeneity, the application of the proposed method requires more measurement effort as compared to above ground measurements only. The authors main response is that they do not think it undercuts the utility of their findings - I agree. But it does undercut the claim that the methods is potentially „cost saving and with logistical advantage“ compared to interception measurements as stated in the abstract. This should be addressed.
Unfortunately the references cited in response to my comment are interpreted in a somewhat biased fashion. First, Metzger et al. (2017) show that soil water content increase for the majority of events was not related to soil water content increase. Second, Zimmermann et al. (2014) recommend 5 funnels (of minimum 1 m2 sampling size, e.g. 0.5 m wide and 2 m long) for multiple events. Your method applies to single events, for which they recommend 10 - 20 troughs of substantially larger size than covered by the soil moisture sensors in this study. An interpretation that three samplers are almost sufficient is misleading in context with the presented methods, please change this part of the revised manuscript.
Metzger, J.C., Wutzler, T., Dalla Valle, N., Filipzik, J., Grauer, C., Lehmann, R., Roggenbuck,
M., Schelhorn, D., Weckmüller, J., Küsel, K. and Totsche, K.U., 2017. Vegetation impacts soil water content patterns by shaping canopy water fluxes and soil properties. Hydrological processes, 31(22), pp.3783-3795.
Zimmermann, A. and Zimmermann, B.: Requirements for throughfall monitoring: The roles of temporal scale and canopy complexity. Agricultural and forest meteorology, 189, 125-139, 2014