An assessment of pedotransfer function performance for the estimation of spatial variability of key soil hydraulic properties

Alessandra Calegari da Silva, Robson André Armindo, Alexsandro dos Santos Brito, Marcel G. Schaap

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


The reliable applications of soil water dynamics and its spatial variability are very important in hydrological and environmental studies. However, determination of some hydraulic properties requires time and sometimes high costs. Pedotransfer functions (PTFs) have been applied as an alternative for the prediction of soil hydraulic properties by working with some easily measurable physical properties. This study examined the performance of the Splintex and Rosetta PTFs for estimating the spatial variability of some soil hydraulic properties such as available water capacity (AWC), field capacity (qfc), permanent wilting point (qpwp), specific water capacity [C(q)], conductivity [K(q)], and diffusivity [D(q)] in a sandy soil from southeastern Brazil. Based on the log-likelihood, Akaike, and Bayesian information criteria, semivariogram models were fitted and used to krige the assessed variable maps. The results showed the feasibility of using these PTFs to estimate the spatial variability in soil hydraulic properties and functions, which would greatly benefit vadose zone flow and transport modeling. Geostatistical analyses presented similarities in kriged maps of both observed K(q) and C(q) data with kriged maps by Rosetta estimates, as well as the kriged map of the observed AWC data with the kriged map by Splintex estimates sometimes revealing the same semivariogram data pattern. Predicted maps of qfc, qpwp, and D(q) were, however, different from kriged maps of the observed data, showing that this approach should be used carefully. The use of the range parameter from the semivariogram models was efficient to determine the optimal sample density for the studied area.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalVadose Zone Journal
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Soil Science


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