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Soil Science Society of America Journal Abstract -

Field Evaluation and Error Analysis of Soil Water Content Measurement using the Capacitance Probe Method


This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 61 No. 2, p. 399-408
    Received: Nov 28, 1995

    * Corresponding author(s): ary.bruand@orleans.inra.fr
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  1. S. Ould Mohamed,
  2. A. Bruand ,
  3. L. Raison,
  4. P. Bertuzzi and
  5. L. Bruckler
  1. Unité de Science du sol - SESCPF, INRA Orléans, Ardon, 45160 Olivet, France
    Unité de Science du sol - INRA Avignon, Site Agroparc, 84914 Avignon, France



The volumetric water content of a silty clay loam soil was measured using the capacitance probe method (CPM) for three successive winter-spring periods. The results were compared with those obtained using the neutron scattering method (NSM). The CPM was calibrated using gravimetric water content measurements, whereas the NSM was calibrated using a theoretical calibration which requires chemical analysis of soil samples. The calibration curves of CPM were linear for volumetric water content ranging from 0.25 to 0.40 m3 m−3. The correlation coefficients (r) ranged from 0.87 to 0.98. The advantages of the CPM were discussed, and it was demonstrated that, for low differentiated soils, this method can be a better alternative to the NSM, which is commonly used for the determination of soil water content. The CPM and NSM measurements were compared and root mean squared errors between these two methods ranged from 0.0098 to 0.0159 m3 m−3. The precision of NSM and CPM in a field calibration exercise was calculated. For CPM, this study discusses unbiased and biased statistical treatments to establish the calibration curves. The unbiased treatment greatly decreased the total variance in volumetric water content. The standard deviation of volumetric water content ranged from 0.0194 to 0.0248 m3 m−3 and from 0.0108 to 0.0136 m3 m−3 for biased and unbiased statistical method, respectively. Finally, the soil water storage and associated errors were calculated using CPM and NSM.

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