Date of Award
Program or Major
Natural Resources and Environmental Studies
Master of Science
Serita D Frey
Gopal K Mulukutla
William H McDowell
Soil moisture is an important component in the interaction of terrestrial and aquatic systems, as it may play a role in regulating streamflow and the delivery of nutrients from soils to streams. There are few studies that collect in situ soil moisture and stream discharge data simultaneously at the same location across different land uses at a fine enough temporal resolution to understand processes at sub-daily timescales. I examined the relationship between soil moisture and streamflow over varying timescales using concurrent, high temporal frequency (one hour) in situ measurements of soil volumetric water content and stream discharge at five headwater catchments with different land use characteristics. I found that soil moisture and streamflow appear to be coupled, and that antecedent moisture conditions and seasonal change in temperature and precipitation regulated this coupling. Furthermore, each site/land use had a different coupling relationship and the antecedent requirements to induce coupling differed by site. I also found that depth in the soil profile, timescale, and site specific characteristics all played a role in streamflow coupling. Simultaneous measurement of streamflow and soil moisture across different spatial and temporal scales is key to understanding the actual physical connectivity between terrestrial and aquatic systems. Strategic placement of in situ sensor networks will allow us to better understand the interactions among atmosphere, land, and water that couple soils and surface waters.
Godbois, Brian Timothy, "Simultaneous measurements of soil moisture and streamflow in small catchments reveal varied coupling across sites, seasons, and timescales" (2017). Master's Theses and Capstones. 1149.