Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile
Lagos M., Serna J.L., Muñoz J.F., Suárez F. (2020)

Challenges in determining soil evaporation fluxes using distributed temperature sensing methods

Revista : Journal of Environmental Management
Volumen : 261
Páginas : 110232
Tipo de publicación : ISI Ir a publicación


To protect fragile groundwater-dependent environments of arid zones, it is important to monitor soil moisture and groundwater evaporation. Hence, it is important to assess new methods to quantify these environmental variables. In this work, we propose a new method to determine groundwater evaporation rates by combining the actively heated fiber-optic (AHFO) method with vadose zone modeling, assuming that the evaporation front remains at the soil surface. In our study, the AHFO method yielded estimates of the soil moisture () profile with a spatial resolution of ~6.5 mm and with an error of 0.026 m3 m-3. The numerical model resulted in a slightly different  profile than that measured, where the largest differences occurred at the soil surface. Sensitivity and uncertainty analyses highlighted that a better precision is required when determining the soil hydraulic parameters. To improve the proposed method, the soil heat-vapor-water dynamics should be included and the assumption that the evaporation front remains at the soil surface must be relaxed. Additionally, if the AHFO calibration curve is enhanced, the errors of the estimated  profile can be reduced and thus, successful estimation of the evaporation rates for a wider range of soil textures can be achieved. The spatial scales measured are an important advantage of the proposed method that should be further explored to improve the analysis presented here.