2023 journal article

Optimization of the number and locations of the calibration stations needed to monitor soil moisture using distributed temperature sensing systems: A proof-of-concept study


co-author countries: United States of America 🇺🇸
author keywords: Distributed temperature sensing; Soil thermal properties; Soil moisture; Single-probe heat-pulse; Hierarchical clustering
Source: Web Of Science
Added: August 7, 2023

The single-probe heat-pulse (SPHP) technique combined with the Fiber-optic Distributed Temperature Sensing (DTS) technology can offer novel high-resolution measurements of soil moisture (θ) over spatial scales ranging from several centimeters to several kilometers. However, the key limitation of this method is in obtaining the calibration relationship between θ and soil thermal conductivity (λ) across a specific field. In a previous study, a new methodology using a Gaussian processes model was presented to account for the spatial variability in the λ-θ relationship. The model aggregated θ measurements from soil moisture sensors scattered over the SPHP transect with the corresponding DTS λ measurements at their locations. In this study, a novel methodology is tested to optimize the number and locations of soil moisture sensors required to account for the spatial variability of the λ-θ relationship to achieve higher accuracy from the SPHP technique. The proposed methodology utilizes hierarchical clustering to analyze the information contained in the spatial structure of the SPHP measurements as the soil dries from a nearly-saturated condition. The proposed methodology was tested using data from a field in Oklahoma. Monte-Carlo simulation was performed to validate the performance of the proposed methodology. The predictions obtained from the proposed methodology resulted in θ measurements accuracy comparable to those obtained from the 10% best Monte-Carlo iterations of randomly assigned soil moisture locations. This study demonstrates that the proposed methodology is more efficient than the traditional practice of randomly spreading calibration soil moisture sensors along the SPHP transect.