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An analysis of soil moisture dynamics using multi-year data from a network of micrometeorological observation sites

  • Author(s): Miller, Gretchen R.
  • Baldocchi, Dennis D.
  • Law, Beverly E.
  • Meyers, Tilden
  • et al.

Soil moisture data, obtained from four AmeriFlux sites in the US, were examined using an ecohydrological framework. Sites were selected for the analysis to provide a range of plant functional type, climate, soil particle size distribution, and time series of data spanning a minimum of two growing seasons. Soil moisture trends revealed the importance of measuring water content at several depths throughout the rooting zone; soil moisture at the surface (0-10 cm) was approximately 20-30%) less than that at 50-60 cm. A modified soil moisture dynamics model was used to generate soil moisture probability density functions at. each site. Model calibration results demonstrated that the commonly used soil matric potential values for finding the vegetation stress point and field content may not be appropriate, particularly for vegetation adapted to a water-controlled environment. Projections of future soil moisture patterns suggest that two of the four sites will become severely stressed by climate change induced alterations to the precipitation regime. (C) 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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