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This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 70 No. 3, p. 872-881
    Received: July 21, 2004

    * Corresponding author(s): rhorton@iastate.edu
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Measured and Predicted Solute Transport in a Tile Drained Field

  1. Anju Gaura,
  2. Robert Horton *b,
  3. Dan B. Jaynesc and
  4. James L. Bakerd
  1. a International Water Management Institute IWMI c/o ICRISAT Patancheru, AP 502 324 India
    b Dep. of Agronomy, Iowa State Univ., Ames, IA 50011
    c USDA-ARS, National Soil Tilth Lab., 2150 Pammel Dr., Ames, IA 50011
    d Dep. of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering, Iowa State Univ., Ames, IA 50011


Most solute transport measurement techniques are tedious and require extensive soil excavation. A field experiment was conducted to evaluate whether surface transport properties determined by a nondestructive time domain reflectometry (TDR) technique could be used to accurately predict tile flux concentrations. A 14 by 14 m field plot selected above a 1.1-m deep tile drain was studied. Low electrical conductivity (EC) water was sprinkled on the plot surface, and after reaching a steady-state condition, a pulse of calcium chloride solution (16.3 cm) with an EC of 23 dS m−1 was applied through the same sprinklers. Time domain reflectometry equipment was used to record the change in EC of surface (∼ top 2 cm) soil at 45 locations. The EC of the tile drainage flow was measured continuously with an EC probe. The surface convective lognormal transfer (CLT) function parameters, log mean irrigation depth, μI, and its standard deviation, σI, were found to be 3.44 and 0.94 [ln(cm)], respectively, for a reference depth of 110 cm. These surface parameters were used in a one-dimensional (1-D) CLT model and in a two-dimensional (2-D) model (CLT vertical function combined with exponential horizontal transfer function) to predict the tile flux concentrations. The 1-D CLT model predicted an earlier arrival time of chemicals to the tile drain than observed values. The root mean square error, RMSE, of the 1-D CLT predictions was 0.123, and the coefficient of efficiency, E, was −0.47. The 2-D model predictions of tile flux concentrations were similar to the observed values. The root mean squared errors (RMSE) and E were 0.023 and 0.94, respectively. The findings suggest that in this field soil, the surface solute transport properties determined by TDR could be combined with a 2-D transport model to make reasonable predictions of tile flux concentrations.

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