Examining effect of plant roots on soil-water interaction in MiniLEO

Shweta Narkhede and Peter A Troch
Department of Hydrology and Atmospheric Sciences
The University of Arizona

Soil moisture variability plays an important role in the simulation of land surface processes, which are nonlinearly related to soil moisture. It is an important parameter that affects land water interactions and water and energy cycles. Soil moisture is also a major factor in determining hydrological response. In critical zone, various factors affect the soil-moisture interactions, one of them being moisture variability. This study discusses methods that can effectively depict the soil moisture variability in critical zone with bare soil as well as the vegetated surface. The effect of presence of plant roots on the interaction of soil and moisture in the critical zone is observed with the help of experiment aided by Biosphere 2 research facility using lysimeter-MiniLEO in controlled conditions. The observed electrical conductivities of the discharge at the outlet of the lysimeter provides information on soil water interaction within lysimeter and potential factors that may affect this interaction. Additionally, this study explores the potential methods that could be used to trace moisture variability within the lysimeter.

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