Journal cover Journal topic
Earth System Science Data The Data Publishing Journal
Earth Syst. Sci. Data, 9, 529-543, 2017
https://doi.org/10.5194/essd-9-529-2017
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Review article
27 Jul 2017
A global data set of soil hydraulic properties and sub-grid variability of soil water retention and hydraulic conductivity curves
Carsten Montzka1, Michael Herbst1, Lutz Weihermüller1, Anne Verhoef2, and Harry Vereecken1,3 1Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH, Institute of Bio- and Geosciences: Agrosphere (IBG-3), Jülich, Germany
2University of Reading, Department of Geography and Environmental Science, Reading, UK
3International Soil Modeling Consortium, Jülich, Germany
Abstract. Agroecosystem models, regional and global climate models, and numerical weather prediction models require adequate parameterization of soil hydraulic properties. These properties are fundamental for describing and predicting water and energy exchange processes at the transition zone between solid earth and atmosphere, and regulate evapotranspiration, infiltration and runoff generation. Hydraulic parameters describing the soil water retention (WRC) and hydraulic conductivity (HCC) curves are typically derived from soil texture via pedotransfer functions (PTFs). Resampling of those parameters for specific model grids is typically performed by different aggregation approaches such a spatial averaging and the use of dominant textural properties or soil classes. These aggregation approaches introduce uncertainty, bias and parameter inconsistencies throughout spatial scales due to nonlinear relationships between hydraulic parameters and soil texture. Therefore, we present a method to scale hydraulic parameters to individual model grids and provide a global data set that overcomes the mentioned problems. The approach is based on Miller–Miller scaling in the relaxed form by Warrick, that fits the parameters of the WRC through all sub-grid WRCs to provide an effective parameterization for the grid cell at model resolution; at the same time it preserves the information of sub-grid variability of the water retention curve by deriving local scaling parameters. Based on the Mualem–van Genuchten approach we also derive the unsaturated hydraulic conductivity from the water retention functions, thereby assuming that the local parameters are also valid for this function. In addition, via the Warrick scaling parameter λ, information on global sub-grid scaling variance is given that enables modellers to improve dynamical downscaling of (regional) climate models or to perturb hydraulic parameters for model ensemble output generation. The present analysis is based on the ROSETTA PTF of Schaap et al. (2001) applied to the SoilGrids1km data set of Hengl et al. (2014). The example data set is provided at a global resolution of 0.25° at https://doi.org/10.1594/PANGAEA.870605.

Citation: Montzka, C., Herbst, M., Weihermüller, L., Verhoef, A., and Vereecken, H.: A global data set of soil hydraulic properties and sub-grid variability of soil water retention and hydraulic conductivity curves, Earth Syst. Sci. Data, 9, 529-543, https://doi.org/10.5194/essd-9-529-2017, 2017.
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Short summary
Global climate models require adequate parameterization of soil hydraulic properties, but typical resampling to the model grid introduces uncertainties. Here we present a method to scale hydraulic parameters to individual model grids and provide a global data set that overcomes the problems. It preserves the information of sub-grid variability of the water retention curve by deriving local scaling parameters that enables modellers to perturb hydraulic parameters for model ensemble generation.
Global climate models require adequate parameterization of soil hydraulic properties, but...
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