A framework for quantifying hydrologic effects of soil structure across scales

Sara Bonetti*, Zhongwang Wei, Dani Or

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Earth system models use soil information to parameterize hard-to-measure soil hydraulic properties based on pedotransfer functions. However, current parameterizations rely on sample-scale information which often does not account for biologically-promoted soil structure and heterogeneities in natural landscapes, which may significantly alter infiltration-runoff and other exchange processes at larger scales. Here we propose a systematic framework to incorporate soil structure corrections into pedotransfer functions, informed by remote-sensing vegetation metrics and local soil texture, and use numerical simulations to investigate their effects on spatially distributed and areal averaged infiltration-runoff partitioning. We demonstrate that small scale soil structure features prominently alter the hydrologic response emerging at larger scales and that upscaled parameterizations must consider spatial correlations between vegetation and soil texture. The proposed framework allows the incorporation of hydrological effects of soil structure with appropriate scale considerations into contemporary pedotransfer functions used for land surface parameterization.
Original languageEnglish
Article number107
JournalCommunications Earth & Environment
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2021


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