Mapping variability of soil water content and flux across 1-1000 m scales using the Actively Heated Fiber Optic method Public Deposited

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  • The Actively Heated Fiber Optic (AHFO) method is shown to be capable of measuring soil water content several times per hour at 0.25 m spacing along cables of multiple kilometers in length. AHFO is based on distributed temperature sensing (DTS) observation of the heating and cooling of a buried fiber-optic cable resulting from an electrical impulse of energy delivered from the steel cable jacket. The results presented were collected from 750 m of cable buried in three 240 m colocated transects at 30, 60, and 90 cm depths in an agricultural field under center pivot irrigation. The calibration curve relating soil water content to the thermal response of the soil to a heat pulse of 10 W m⁻¹ for 1 min duration was developed in the lab. This calibration was found applicable to the 30 and 60 cm depth cables, while the 90 cm depth cable illustrated the challenges presented by soil heterogeneity for this technique. This method was used to map with high resolution the variability of soil water content and fluxes induced by the nonuniformity of water application at the surface.
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  • Sayde, C., Buelga, J. B., Rodriguez‐Sinobas, L., El Khoury, L., English, M., van de Giesen, N., & Selker, J. S. (2014). Mapping variability of soil water content and flux across 1–1000 m scales using the actively heated fiber optic method. Water Resources Research, 50(9), 7302-7317. doi:10.1002/2013WR014983
Journal Title
Journal Volume
  • 50
Journal Issue/Number
  • 9
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  • We gratefully acknowledge the support of the National Science Foundation (grant 1129003), NASA (grant NASA 10-THP-0054), and the Oregon Experiment Station for their critical financial support.
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