Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2011KY168B

Using the stability of soil moisture distribution to understand soil system modularity and complexity at the landscape scale

Institute: Kentucky
Year Established: 2011 Start Date: 2011-03-01 End Date: 2012-12-31
Total Federal Funds: $5,000 Total Non-Federal Funds: $10,190

Principal Investigators: Ole Wendroth, Junfeng Zhu

Abstract: Soil moisture variability results from the spatial distribution of soil parameters together with temporal changes in soil moisture status. To improve the accuracy of vadose zone modeling applications, it is important to identify at what scales structured variation exists and how these scales interrelate with one another. Soil systems are intrinsically complex and variable. This research hypothesizes such variability can be organized (i.e. decomposed) into meaningful relations between parameters and processes that in turn reveal reason behind system behavior. The objectives of this research are: 1) to establish spatio-temporal dependencies of soil moisture variability using geophysics and geostatistics; 2) to use temporal stability as a tool to identify soil-landscape features that parameterize and control moisture variability; and 3) to understand and describe how spatio-temporal dependencies interrelate between different scales using systems theory.