Skip to main content
ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Boise, Idaho » Northwest Watershed Research Center » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #160545

Title: Distribution of soil dynamics in a small mountain catchment

item Seyfried, Mark
item Marks, Daniel
item Winstral, Adam
item Murdock, Mark

Submitted to: Trans American Geophysical Union
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/19/2004
Publication Date: 4/27/2004
Citation: Grant, L.E., and Seyfried, M.S., Marks, D., Winstral, A., McNamara, J., Murdock, M. 2003. Distribution of soil moisture dynamics in a small mountain catchment. Abstract C41B-09 In: EOS Transactions, v. 84(46) supplement, American Geophysical Union, CD_ROM

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Soil moisture in semi-arid regions dominated by winter precipitation is recharged as a bulk influx during spring melt and dries down quickly during the ensuing months. This timing in combination with various spatially distributed landscape properties produces distinct spatial soil moisture patterns. The patterns must be recognized in a distributed manner to account for hydrologic processes of storage and redistribution. This research investigates the spatial correlation among distributed point measurements of soil moisture, and between soil moisture patterns and landscape properties such as topography, vegetation, and the spatial snowmelt patterns. We also evaluated data using a combined snowmelt-soil water model to provide spatially and temporally continuous estimates of net recharge and evapotranspirtation across the watershed. Recharge estimates were compared with measured streamflow measured at a weir at the base of the watershed. Reynolds Mountain East (RME) subcatchment in Southwestern Idaho is in an intermountain region exhibiting high variability in topography, vegetation, and snow distribution. RME encompasses an area of 0.6 km2 with 19 neutron probe access tubes distributed throughout the catchment. Two years of soil moisture data were collected with supporting climate and snow distribution data. In addition, leaf area index was measured for different vegetation types. The soil water regime is typically characterized by two regimes: the spring snow melt and summer dry down with a variable degree of recharge prior to snow fall in the during the fall. Distributed patterns of soil moisture have distinct correlation to snow and vegetation distribution.