Using data assimilation to optimize pedotransfer functions using field-scale in situ soil moisture observations

Cooper, Elizabeth; Blyth, Eleanor; Cooper, Hollie; Ellis, Rich; Pinnington, Ewan; Dadson, Simon J.

Soil moisture predictions from land surface models are important in hydrological, ecological, and meteorological applications. In recent years, the availability of wide-area soil moisture measurements has increased, but few studies have combined model-based soil moisture predictions with in situ observations beyond the point scale. Here we show that we can markedly improve soil moisture estimates from the Joint UK Land Environment Simulator (JULES) land surface model using field-scale observations and data assimilation techniques. Rather than directly updating soil moisture estimates towards observed values, we optimize constants in the underlying pedotransfer functions, which relate soil texture to JULES soil physics parameters. In this way, we generate a single set of newly calibrated pedotransfer functions based on observations from a number of UK sites with different soil textures. We demonstrate that calibrating a pedotransfer function in this way improves the soil moisture predictions of a land surface model at 16 UK sites, leading to the potential for better flood, drought, and climate projections.

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Cooper, Elizabeth / Blyth, Eleanor / Cooper, Hollie / et al: Using data assimilation to optimize pedotransfer functions using field-scale in situ soil moisture observations. 2021. Copernicus Publications.

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Rechteinhaber: Elizabeth Cooper et al.

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