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Article << Previous     |     Next >>   Contents Vol 39(6)

Field and laboratory calibration and test of TDR and capacitance techniques for indirect measurement of soil water content

P. N. J. Lane and D. H. Mackenzie

Australian Journal of Soil Research 39(6) 1371 - 1386
Published: 30 November 2001


Time domain reflectometry (TDR) and a frequency domain sensor, the Didcot Capacitance Probe, were tested in the field and laboratory. The results from an undisturbed large core TDR laboratory test found the Topp equation returned a close correspondence to thermogravimetrically derived water content, although there was a slight underestimation. Coefficients of determination and efficiency were >0.98 and 0.92, respectively, for individual cores, and 0.98 and 0.97 for the whole data set. The field exercise revealed the Topp equation to be superior to the laboratory derived equation and other published empirical equations, suggesting the Topp equation to be adequate. A field test of the capacitance probe found poor correspondence between measured and predicted observations of profile point soil water content. Although 81% of the variance was explained by the calibration regression, there was a poor fit to the 1:1 line (E = 0.34), and a non-significant relationship between measured and predicted soil water content for the A horizon. The instrument design proved problematic for use as a determiner of point profile soil water content, and the recommended calibration procedure was impossible in the study site soils.

Keywords: dielectric constant, soil moisture, frequency domain.

Full text doi:10.1071/SR00095

© CSIRO 2001

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