A computational method for modeling spatiotemporal variability of hydrodynamic properties in sandy soil under drainage and recharge

Citation

Gumiere SJ, Periard Y, Celicourt P, Gumiere T, Lafond JA, Rousseau AN, Gallichand J and Caron J (2022) A Computational Method for Modeling Spatiotemporal Variability of Hydrodynamic Properties in Sandy Soil Under Drainage and Recharge. Front. Soil Sci. 2:803892. doi: 10.3389/fsoil.2022.803892

Plain language summary

Long term experiments about drainage and recharge cycles, which happens when water table management is required, are expensive and take many years. This paper proposes an alternative solution to study these cycles with soil columns in laboratory in an accelerated way using X-ray Computed Tomography (CT scan) and temporal analysis. Columns of 100-cm high filled with two types of sandy soil were constructed to simulate, over the period of a month, the equivalent of nearly 40 years of drainage/recharge cycles. Soil matric potential, water inflow and outflow, as well as movement of a tracer (zirconium oxide (ZrO2)) added to the top 20 cm of each soil column were monitored and columns were CT-scanned few times during the experiment. The results revealed that drainage and recharge cycles greatly affect the evolution of soil hydraulic properties at different locations along the soil profile by reducing drainage and capillary capacities. Also, temporal analysis showed that the length of these cycles changed with time and evolution of hydraulic properties. The proposed method can be applied to predict soil evolution according to soil texture, drainage system design and water management, thereby offering a potential basis for proposing water management options based on soil hydrodynamic properties. It may find its application in agricultural farms practicing water table management (subirrigation or controlled drainage).

Abstract

This paper proposes an analytical strategy that combines X-ray Computed Tomography (CT) and Continuous Wavelet Transform (CWT) analysis as an alternative solution to long-term experiments that seek to investigate spatiotemporal variations in soil hydraulic properties induced by drainage and recharge cycles. We conducted CT scanning on 100-cm-high column filled with two types of sandy soil in a laboratory environment to simulate, over the period of a month, the equivalent of nearly 40 years of drainage/recharge cycles akin to agricultural fields adopting subirrigation as water management practices. We also monitored soil matric potential, water inflow and outflow, as well as movement of tracers. This later consists in zirconium oxide (ZrO2) that we added to the top 20 cm of each soil column. The results revealed that drainage and recharge cycles greatly affect the evolution of soil hydraulic properties at different locations along the soil profile by reducing drainage and capillary capacities. The approach also allowed us to identify each periodic component of drainage and recharge cycles, and thereby calculate the periodic drift over time. The proposed method can be applied to predict soil evolution according to soil texture, drainage system design and water management, thereby offering a potential basis for proposing mitigation measures related to soil hydrodynamics. It may find its application in agricultural farms adopting subirrigation and surface (e.g., drip) irrigation approaches and, in mining and civil engineering.

Publication date

2022-03-17

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