Combining visible near-infrared spectroscopy and water vapor sorption for soil specific surface area estimation

Maria Knadel, Lis Wollesen de Jonge, Markus Tuller, Hafeez Ur Rehman, Peter Weber Jensen, Per Moldrup, Mogens H. Greve, Emmanuel Arthur

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The soil specific surface area (SSA) is a fundamental property governing a range of soil processes relevant to engineering, environmental, and agricultural applications. A method for SSA determination based on a combination of visible near-infrared spectroscopy (vis-NIRS) and vapor sorption isotherm measurements was proposed. Two models for water vapor sorption isotherms (WSIs) were used: the Tuller–Or (TO) and the Guggenheim–Anderson–de Boer (GAB) model. They were parameterized with sorption isotherm measurements and applied for SSA estimation for a wide range of soils (N = 270) from 27 countries. The generated vis-NIRS models were compared with models where the SSA was determined with the ethylene glycol monoethyl ether (EGME) method. Different regression techniques were tested and included partial least squares (PLS), support vector machines (SVM), and artificial neural networks (ANN). The effect of dataset subdivision based on EGME values on model performance was also tested. Successful calibration models for SSATO and SSAGAB were generated and were nearly identical to that of SSAEGME. The performance of models was dependent on the range and variation in SSA values. However, the comparison using selected validation samples indicated no significant differences in the estimated SSATO, SSAGAB, and SSAEGME, with an average standardized RMSE (SRMSE = RMSE/range) of 0.07, 0.06 and 0.07, respectively. Small differences among the regression techniques were found, yet SVM performed best. The results of this study indicate that the combination of vis-NIRS with the WSI as a reference technique for vis-NIRS models provides SSA estimations akin to the EGME method.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere20007
JournalVadose Zone Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Soil Science


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