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Journal of Hydrometeorology




Soil thermal diffusivity κ is an essential parameter for studying surface and subsurface heat transfer and temperature changes. It is well understood that κ mainly varies with soil texture, water content θ, and bulk density ρb, but few models are available to accurately quantify the relationship. In this study, an empirical model is developed for estimating κ from soil particle size distribution, ρb, and degree of water saturation Sr. The model parameters are determined by fitting the proposed equations to heat-pulse κdata for eight soils covering wide ranges of texture, ρb, and Sr. Independent evaluations with published κdata show that the new model describes the κ(Sr) relationship accurately, with root-mean-square errors less than 0.75 × 10−7 m2 s−1. The proposed κ(Sr) model also describes the responses of κ to ρb changes accurately in both laboratory and field conditions. The new model is also used successfully for predicting near-surface soil temperature dynamics using the harmonic method. The results suggest that this model provides useful estimates of κ from Sr, ρb, and soil texture.


This is a manuscript of an article published as Xie, Xiaoting, Yili Lu, Tusheng Ren, and Robert Horton. "An empirical model for estimating soil thermal diffusivity from texture, bulk density, and degree of saturation." Journal of Hydrometeorology (2018). doi: 10.1175/JHM-D-17-0131.1. Posted with permission.


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