Skip to main content

Estimation of soil moisture and its effect on soil thermal characteristics at Astronomical Observatory, Thiruvananthapuram, south Kerala

Abstract

Soil moisture is an important parameter of the earth’s climate system. Regression model for estimation of soil moisture at various depths has been developed using the amount of moisture near the surface layer. The estimated values of soil moisture are tested with the measured moisture values and it is found that the estimations are comparable with the observations. The variation of soil thermal properties with the amount of moisture in isohyperthermic ultisols has been investigated at a tropical site in south Kerala for the year 2008. The soil temperatures at 0.05, 0.10, 0.20, 0.30, and 0.50 m depths and soil moisture at 0.05 and 0.10 m are measured using the hydrometeorological data acquisition system installed at the observational site. For soil water contents ranging between 11 and 42% in the soil layer of depth 0.05–0.10 m, the mean values of the heat capacity, thermal diffusivity, thermal conductivity, and thermal admittance obtained were 2.2466 × 10−6 Jm−3K−1, 0.4238 × 10−6 m2s−1, 0.9658 Wm−1K−1, 2.1517 Jm−2s−1/2K−1, respectively. The magnitudes of the diurnal soil thermal parameters showed strong association with the levels of the water content. The thermal diffusivity was found to increase with the amount of soil moisture, up to about 22% of the volumetric water content, but fell as the water content further increases. Similar patterns of the soil moisture levels were noticeable both for the thermal conductivity and admittance.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Figure 1
Figure 2
Figure 3
Figure 4
Figure 5
Figure 6
Figure 7
Figure 8
Figure 9
Figure 10
Figure 11
Figure 12

References

  1. Abu-Hamdeh N H and Reeder R C 2000 Soil thermal conductivity: Effects of density, moisture, salt concentration and organic matters; Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 64 1285–1290.

  2. Anandakumar K, Venkatesan R and Prabha Thara V 2001 Soil thermal properties at Kalpakkam in coastal south India; Proc. Indian Acad. Sci. (Earth Planet. Sci.) 110 (3) 239–245.

  3. Arkhangel’skaya T A 2009 Parameterization and mathematical modeling of the dependence of soil thermal diffusivity on the water content; Eurasian Soil Sci. 42 162–172.

  4. Baier W 1969 Concept of soil moisture availability and their effect on soil moisture estimates from a meteorological budget; Agric. Meteorol. 6 (3) 165–178.

  5. Baier W and Robertson G W 1966 A new versatile soil moisture budget; Can. J. Plant. Sci. 46 299–315.

  6. Baver L D, Gardner W H and Gardner N R 1972 Soil Physics; 4th edn (New York: John Wiley and Sons).

  7. Biswas B C 1978 Soil moisture variation under rain fed condition at Pune and Delhi in relation to rainfall; Indian J. Met. Hydrol. Geophys. 29(3) 555–560.

  8. Biswas B C and Dasgupta S K 1979 Estimation of soil moisture at deeper depth from surface layer data; Mausam 30 (4) 511–516.

  9. Bocock K L and Adamson J K 1982 Soil temperature in a deciduous woodland in north–west England; Merlewood Research and Development Paper No. 87, Grange-over-Sand.

  10. Canuffo D and Bernadi A 1982 An observational study of heat fluxes and their relationships with net radiation; Bound.-Layer Meteorol. 23 359–368.

  11. Chacko P T and Renuka G 2008 Thermal diffusivity of soils in iso-hyperthermic temperature regime by harmonic analysis; Indian J. Radio Space Phys. 37 360–365.

  12. De Vries D A and Afgan N H 1975 Heat and Mass Transfer in the Biosphere (New York: John Wiley and Sons).

  13. Garratt J R 1992 The Atmospheric Boundary Layer (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press).

  14. Guan X D, Huang J P, Guo N, Bi J R and Wang G 2009 Variability of soil moisture and its relationship with surface albedo and soil thermal parameters over the Loess Plateau; Adv. Atmos. Sci. 26 (4) 692–700.

  15. Hanks R J and Ashcroft G L 1986 Applied Soil Physics (Berlin: Springer-Verlag).

  16. Hillel D 1982 Introduction to Soil Physics (New York: Academic Press).

  17. Huang J, Zhang W, Zuo J, Bi J, Shi J, Wang X, Chang Z, Huang Z, Yang S, Zhang B, Wang G, Feng G, Yuan J, Zhang L, Zuo H, Wang S, Fu C and Cho J 2008 An overview of the Semi-Arid Climate and Environment Research Observatory over the Loess Plateau; Adv. Atmos. Sci. 25 (6) 906–921.

  18. Kaushik S B, Sharma G S and Mokhashi B G 1965 Preliminary studies on subsoil temperatures at Jodhpur; Def. Sci. J. 15 30–35.

  19. Lamba B S and Sunita Bhandari 1998 Some aspects of thermal diffusivity for various soil layers in different harmonics; Mausam 49(2) 255–258.

  20. Liu H Z, Wang B M and Fu C B 2008 Relationships between surface albedo, soil thermal parameters and soil moisture in the semi-arid area of Tongyu, northeastern China; Adv. Atmos. Sci. 25 (5) 757–764.

  21. Menon P A and Rajan C K 1989 Climate of Kerala (Cochin: Classic Publications).

  22. Nwadibia N O, Ugwa E I and Aduloju K A 2010 Theoretical analysis of the influence of the thermal diffusivity of clay soil on the thermal energy distribution in clay soil of Abakaliki, Nigeria; Res. J. Appl. Sci. Eng. Technol. 2 (3) 216–221.

  23. Oke T R 1978 Boundary Layer Climates (New York: John Wiley and Sons).

  24. Padmanabhamurty B, Amaralingeswara Rao K and Mukherjee R 1998 A preliminary analysis of soil temperature at five different sites under land surface processes experiment in the Sabarmati river basin; Indian J. Radio Space Phys. 27 (5) 199–206.

  25. Peled E, Dutra E, Viterbo P and Angert A 2010 Technical note: Comparing and ranking soil drought indices performance over Europe, through remote-sensing of vegetation; Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci. 14 271–277.

  26. Peters-Lidard C D, Blackburn E, Liang X and Wood E F 1998 The effect of soil thermal conductivity parameterization on surface energy fluxes and temperatures; J. Atmos. Sci. 55 1209–1224.

  27. Prasada Rao G S L H V 2003 Agricultural Meteorology (Thrissur: Kerala Agricultural University Press).

  28. Ramdas L A and Mallik A K 1942 Studies on soil; Proc. Indian Acad. Sci. 16 16–22.

  29. Rezapour N, Fattahi M and Bidokhti A A 2010 Possible soil thermal response to seismic activities in Alborz region (Iran); Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci. 10 459–464.

  30. Sellers D W 1972 Physical Climatology (Chicago: University of Chicago Press).

  31. Sen Lu, Ren Tusheng, Gong Yuanshi and Horton Robert 2007 An improved model for predicting soil thermal conductivity from water content at room temperature; Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 71 (1) 8–14.

  32. Sivadas T K 2007 Sensors and measurement systems for environmental, marine, fisheries and agricultural applications (Cochin: Central Institute of Fisheries Technology).

  33. Tamai K 2010 Effects of environmental factors and soil properties on tropographic variations of soil respiration; Biogeosci. 7 1133–1142.

  34. Tessy Chacko P and Renuka G 2002 Temperature mapping, thermal diffusivity and subsoil heat flux at Kariavattom of Kerala; Proc. Indian Acad. Sci. (Earth Planet. Sci.) 111 (1) 79–85.

  35. Tyson E Ochsner, Horton Robert and Ren Tusheng 2001 A new perspective on soil thermal properties; Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 65 (5) 1641–1647.

  36. Van Wijk W R 1965 Soil microclimate, its creation, observation and modification; Met. Monogr. 6 (28) 59–73.

  37. Verhoef A, Van den Hurk B J J M, Jacobs A F G and Heusinkveld B G 1996 Thermal soil properties forvineyard (EFEDA-I ) and savanna (HAPEX-Sahel); Agric. For. Meteorol. 78 1–18.

  38. Wang K C, Wang P C, Liu J M, Sparrow M, Haginoya S and Zhou X J 2005 Variation of surface albedo and soil thermal parameters with soil moisture content at a semi-desert site on the western Tibetan Plateu; Bound.-Layer Meteorol. 116 117–129.

  39. Wetzel P J and Woodward R H 1987 Soil moisture estimation using GOES-VISS infrared data: A case study with a simple statistical method; J. Clim. Appl. Meteorol. 26 107–117.

Download references

Acknowledgements

The authors thank the Director and staff members of the India Meteorological Department, Thiruvananthapuram for providing data required for this work and Suresh Kumar S, Department of Higher Secondary Education, Govt. of Kerala for his support in obtaining the topographic map of the site. They are also grateful to the anonymous reviewers for their thorough reviews, helpful comments and suggestions.

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to M S ROXY.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

ROXY, M.S., SUMITHRANAND, V.B. & RENUKA, G. Estimation of soil moisture and its effect on soil thermal characteristics at Astronomical Observatory, Thiruvananthapuram, south Kerala. J Earth Syst Sci 123, 1793–1807 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12040-014-0509-x

Download citation

Keywords

  • Soil moisture
  • thermal diffusivity
  • volumetric heat capacity
  • thermal conductivity
  • thermal admittance.