Laboratory measurements of subsurface spatial moisture content by ground-penetrating radar (GPR) diffraction and reflection imaging of agricultural soils

Omer Shamir, Naftaly Goldshleger, Uri Basson, Moshe Reshef

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Soil moisture content (SMC) down to the root zone is a major factor for the efficient cultivation of agricultural crops, especially in arid and semi-arid regions. Precise SMC can maximize crop yields (both quality and quantity), prevent crop damage, and decrease irrigation expenses and water waste, among other benefits. This study focuses on the subsurface spatial electromagnetic mapping of physical properties, mainly moisture content, using a ground-penetrating radar (GPR). In the laboratory, GPR measurements were carried out using an 800 MHz central-frequency antenna and conducted in soil boxes with loess soil type (calcic haploxeralf) from the northern Negev, hamra soil type (typic rhodoxeralf) from the Sharon coastal plain, and grumusol soil type (typic chromoxerets) from the Jezreel valley, Israel. These measurements enabled highly accurate, close-to-real-time evaluations of physical soil qualities (i.e., wave velocity and dielectric constant) connected to SMC. A mixture model based mainly on soil texture, porosity, and effective dielectric constant (permittivity) was developed to measure the subsurface spatial volumetric soil moisture content (VSMC) for a wide range of moisture contents. The analysis of the travel times for GPR reflection and diffraction waves enabled calculating electromagnetic velocities, effective dielectric constants, and spatial SMC under laboratory conditions, where the required penetration depth is low (root zone). The average VSMC was determined with an average accuracy of ± 1.5% and was correlated to a standard oven-drying method, making this spatial method useful for agricultural practice and for the design of irrigation plans for different interfaces.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1667
JournalRemote Sensing
Volume10
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 by the authors.

Keywords

  • Active remote sensing
  • Ground-penetrating radar
  • Moisture content
  • Precision agriculture
  • Soil
  • Spatial sub-surface mapping

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (all)

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