Scaling the hydraulic functions of a water repellent sandy soil
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Institute of Ecology, Soil Protection Group, Technical University, Ernst Reuter Platz 1, 10587 Berlin, Germany
Int. Agrophys. 2014, 28(3): 349–358
The heterogeneity of both unsaturated hydraulic conductivity and water retention was measured with a high spatial resolution on a transect using an evaporation method. Fifteen undisturbed 100 cm3 soil cores were taken on a transect every 10 cm from the topsoil of a water repellent sandy site. Five dynamic water retention curves and four unsaturated conductivity curves were determined for each core. We conducted measurements without further saturation in the laboratory in order to achieve field-like conditions. The initial water contents were heterogeneous, indicating different hysteretic conditions and water repellent areas. The scattering of the water retention curves was high, while the heterogeneity of unsaturated conductivity curves was unexpectedly low. Two scaling approaches were used to describe the heterogeneity: one with and one without considering hysteresis. The concept of scaling applies well to describing the heterogeneity of both hydraulic functions. Including hysteresis leads to similar results than excluding hysteresis. The distribution of the hydraulic conductivity and the water retention were independent from each other. The results give important information for numerical simulation of the water flow with heterogeneous hydraulic functions.