Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2022-240
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2022-240
 
28 Jun 2022
28 Jun 2022
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal HESS.

Technical Note: Best of both worlds? Combining undisturbed soil monoliths for indoor runoff experiments

David Ramler and Peter Strauss David Ramler and Peter Strauss
  • Institute for Land and Water Management Research, Federal Agency for Water Management, Pollnbergstraße 1, Petzenkirchen, A-3252, Austria

Abstract. A major decision in soil hydrological research is whether to conduct experiments outdoor or indoors. Both approaches have their advantages and trade-offs. Using undisturbed soil monoliths combines some of the advantages of outdoor and indoor experiments, however, there are often size limitations. While push-methods can be used for small- to medium-sized soil blocks, acquiring larger monoliths necessitates heavy machinery. A promising approach is the combination of smaller blocks to a single large monolith, thereby optimizing cost and labour efficiency as well as representativity and upscaling potential. To this end, we compared the runoff properties of medium-sized (1x 0.5 x 0.35 m) grassland soil monoliths cut in half and re-combined with uncut blocks. We conducted artificial runoff experiments and analyzed the outflow from four flow pathways (surface runoff, subsurface interflow, percolating water, laterally exported water) and surface runoff velocity parameters. Our results suggest that the effects of the re-combination procedure are negligible compared to the variation in the data caused by the inherent soil heterogeneity. Further research is needed for a definite conclusion. Nevertheless, we propose that the benefits of combining soil monoliths outweigh the potential disadvantages.

David Ramler and Peter Strauss

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on hess-2022-240', Narryn Thaman, 27 Jul 2022
  • RC2: 'Comment on hess-2022-240', Anonymous Referee #2, 01 Sep 2022
  • RC3: 'Comment on hess-2022-240', Anonymous Referee #3, 11 Sep 2022

David Ramler and Peter Strauss

Video supplement

Macropore Outlet David Ramler https://doi.org/10.5446/57776

David Ramler and Peter Strauss

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Short summary
Undisturbed soil monoliths combine advantages of outdoor and indoor experiments, however, there are often size limitations. A promising approach is the combination of smaller blocks to a single large monolith. We compared the runoff properties of monoliths cut in half and re-combined with uncut blocks. The effect of the combination procedure were negligible compared to the inherent soil heterogeneity and we conclude that advantages outweigh possible adverse effects.