Estimating soil hydraulic properties from oven-dry to full saturation using shortwave infrared imaging and inverse modeling

Toshiyuki Bandai, Morteza Sadeghi, Ebrahim Babaeian, Scott B. Jones, Markus Tuller, Teamrat A. Ghezzehei

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


To minimize uncertainty related to soil processes in extreme events, we need accurate soil hydraulic properties across the entire range of soil water content. However, conventional methods are time-consuming and limited to specific ranges. To estimate soil hydraulic properties throughout the entire range, we conducted inverse modeling using upward infiltration experiments, where a shortwave infrared imaging camera was used to obtain high-resolution soil moisture data in space and time. Because the commonly used van Genuchten–Mualemmodel is unsuitable for describing soil hydraulic properties for dry conditions, we tested an alternative model, the Peters-Durner-Iden model, which considers both capillary and film water. The inverse modeling successfully estimated soil hydraulic properties for sandy loam and loam soils, and we demonstrated that the Peters-Durner-Iden model captured soil moisture dynamics better than the van Genuchten–Mualemmodel for dry conditions. However, both models could not adequately describe the soil moisture data for the other soils. The direct observation of the water flow via shortwave infrared images clarified that the reduced success was because of violating the one-dimensional flow assumption for coarse-textured soils and the micro-heterogeneity in soil hydraulic properties for soils with fine silt and clay materials.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number131132
JournalJournal of Hydrology
StatePublished - May 2024


  • Inverse modeling
  • Shortwave infrared imaging
  • Soil hydraulic functions
  • Soil moisture

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology


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