Calibration of soil moisture sensing with subsurface heated fiber optics using numerical simulation Public Deposited

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  • The heat pulse probe method can be implemented with actively heated fiber optics (AHFO) to obtain distributed measurements of soil water content (θ) by using reported soil thermal responses measured by Distributed Temperature Sensing (DTS) and with a soil-specific calibration relationship. However, most reported applications have been calibrated to homogeneous soils in a laboratory, while inexpensive efficient in situ calibration procedures useful in heterogeneous soils are lacking. Here we employed the Hydrus 2-D/3-D code to define a soil-specific calibration curve. We define a 2-D geometry of the fiber optic cable and the surrounding soil media, and simulate heat pulses to capture the soil thermal response at different soil water contents. The model was validated in an irrigated field using DTS data from two locations along the FO deployment in which reference moisture sensors were installed. Results indicate that θ was measured with the model-based calibration with accuracy better than 0.022 m³ m⁻³.
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  • Benítez‐Buelga, J., Rodríguez‐Sinobas, L., Sánchez Calvo, R., Gil‐Rodríguez, M., Sayde, C., & Selker, J. S. (2016). Calibration of soil moisture sensing with subsurface heated fiber optics using numerical simulation. Water Resources Research, 52(4), 2985-2995. doi:10.1002/2015WR017897
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  • 52
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  • 4
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  • We also acknowledge the inter-ministerial commission of Science and Technology (CICYT) for their support at the project AGL2008-00153. The USA-NSF-supported Center For Transformative Environmental Monitoring Programs ( is thanked for their support of Selker and Sayde's participation in this project.
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