Use of in situ volumetric water content at field capacity to improve prediction of soil water retention properties

Article English OPEN
Al Majou , Hassan ; Bruand , Ary ; Duval , Odile (2008)
  • Publisher: Agricultural Institute of Canada
  • Subject: 92.40.Lg | bulk density | [ SDU.ENVI ] Sciences of the Universe [physics]/Continental interfaces, environment | texture | RMSE | Pedotransfer functions | MEP | SDP | organic carbon content | [ SDE.MCG ] Environmental Sciences/Global Changes

International audience; Use of in situ volumetric water content at field capacity to improve prediction of soil water retention properties. Most pedotransfer functions (PTFs) developed over the last three decades to generate water retention characteristics use soil texture, bulk density and organic carbon content as predictors. Despite of the high number of PTFs published, most being class- or continuous-PTFs, accuracy of prediction remains limited. In this study, we compared the performance of different class- and continuous-PTFs developed with a regional database. Results showed that use of in situ volumetric water content at field capacity as a predictor led to much better estimation of water retention properties as compared to using predictors derived from the texture, or the organic carbon content and bulk density. This was true regardless of the complexity of the PTFs developed. Results also showed that the best prediction quality was achieved by using the in situ volumetric water content at field capacity after stratification by texture. Comparison of in situ volumetric water content at field capacity, with the water retained at different matric potentials as measured in the laboratory, showed field capacity to approximate 100 hPa whatever the soil texture. Finally, the lack accuracy of PTFs that do not use the in situ volumetric water content at field capacity as predictor did not appear due to the test soils being unrepresentative of the soils used to develop the PTFs, but were instead related to poor correlations between the predictors used and the water retention properties.
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