Comparison of available soil water capacity estimated from topography and soil series information
We present a simple and generalized method to predict Available Soil Water Capacity (ASWC-TOP) for a given area using a topographic index, defined as ln(α/tanβ), where α is the upslope area draining past a certain point per unit width of slope, and β is the local surface slope angle. The estimated results (ASWC-TOP) were then compared with the available soil water capacity calculated from soil series information provided by Soil Conservation Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture (ASWC-SCS). The model implementation was tested with three study cases: the Seeley-Swan valley, Montana, with pixel resolutions of 100 m and 1 km, respectively; and the state of Montana, U.S.A., with a pixel resolution of 1 km. A linear relationship exists between ASWC-SCS and ln(α/tanβ). Standard errors between ASWC-TOP and ASWC-SCS were about 4.4 cm in the Seeley-Swan valley and 5.5 cm in the state. The number of pixels with absolute residuals ≤ 4 cm between ASWC-TOP and ASWC-SCS accounted for 68.2, 64.4, and 51.9% for the valley 100 m, valley 1 km, and the state respectively. Some of the mismatches between ASWC-TOP and ASWC-SCS may indicate an improvement using this method compared to existing data because the topographic method reflects the higher spatial variation of the inputs. The increasing availability of digital elevation data, at various resolutions, may provide an alternative to soil series for estimating ASWC. The accuracy of ASWC-TOP depends on estimation of mean and maximum ASWC for a study area.
© 1996 SBP Academic Publishing bv
Zheng, D., Hunt, E.R. & Running, S.W. Landscape Ecol (1996) 11: 3. doi:10.1007/BF02087109