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An Alternative Tensiometer Design for Deep Vadose Zone Monitoring


The conventional tensiometer is among the most accurate devices for soil water matric potential measurements, as well as for estimations of soil water flux from soil water potential gradients. Uncertainties associated with conventional tensiometers such as caused by ambient temperature effects and the draining of the tensiometer tube, as well as their limitation for deep soil monitoring, has prevented their widespread use for vadose zone monitoring, despite their superior accuracy in general. We introduce an alternative tensiometer design that offers the accuracy of the conventional tensiometer, while minimizing the aforementioned uncertainties and limitations. The proposed alternative tensiometer largely eliminates temperature-induced diurnal fluctuations and uncertainties associated with draining of the tensiometer tube and removes the limitation in installation depth. In addition, the manufacturing costs of this alternative tensiometer design are close to those of the conventional tensiometer, while it is especially suited for monitoring of soil water potential gradients as required for soil water flux measurements.

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