Submitted to: Journal of Irrigation and Drainage Engineering
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/17/2001
Publication Date: 1/20/2001
Citation: Xiuqing, Z., and Flerchinger, G.N. 2001. Infiltration into freezing and thawing soils under differing field treatment. Journal of Irrigation and Drainage Engineering 127:176-182.
Interpretive Summary: This research was conducted as part of a collaborative effort with Taiyuan University of Technology, Taiyuan China. Infiltration, runoff and erosion are common management and resource problems in northern parts and China and the United States. Runoff from seasonally frozen soil is the major cause of severe flooding in northern parts of the United States. The shortage of water resources is one of the important factors affecting and restricting the development of agriculture and stock in northern and northwestern parts of China. Winter and spring irrigation in these areas are conducted under frozen soil conditions when water is available. Data from a series of field experiments conducted during winter and spring seasons in the middle of Taiyuan basin, Shanxi province, China, were evaluated to determine the infiltration characteristics of frozen soils. Water infiltration measurements were made on three soil treatments: bean standing stubble, winter wheat and deep ploughing. This study forms a scientific basis for determining infiltration parameters for irrigation and water resource management.
Technical Abstract: Infiltration characteristics of seasonally frozen soil affect the management and hydrology of many areas. In northern and northwestern parts of China, winter and spring irrigation is conducted during the freeze-thaw period when water is available. The shortage of water resources is one of the major factors restricting the development of crops and livestock in this region. Therefore, heightening irrigation efficiency and determining irrigation parameters has become a key problem for agricultural management. A series of field experiments was conducted during winter and spring seasons in the middle of Taiyuan basin, Shanxi province, China, to evaluate the infiltration characteristics of frozen and thawed soils. Infiltration measurements were made before freezing, throughout the winter freezing period, and during spring thawing on three field treatments: green bean standing stubble, winter wheat, and deep ploughing. A thin frost layer (only a few centimeters) present during shallow freeze-thaw cycles at the beginning of freezing had a limited effect on cumulative infiltration and final infiltration rate. A strong inverse power function (R2>0.90) was demonstrated between water infiltration and water content during the freezing period, and the coefficients for this power function were related to frost depth. The resulting estimates of cumulative infiltration resulted in a coefficient of determination of 0.822. As the soil thawed, infiltration increased as depth of thawed soil increased. Double frozen layers due to surface diurnal freeze/thaw cycles during the soil thawing period provided an impediment to infiltration. This study provides a practical basis for determining infiltration parameters for irrigation and water resource management.