EGU General Assembly 2020
© Author(s) 2021. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Estimating the macroscopic capillary length using steady state infiltration

Simone Di Prima1,2, Ryan D. Stewart3, Mirko Castellini4, Vincenzo Bagarello5, Majdi R. Abou Najm6, Mario Pirastru1, Filippo Giadrossich1, Massimo Iovino5, Rafael Angulo-Jaramillo2, and Laurent Lassabatere2
Simone Di Prima et al.
  • 1Department of Agricultural Sciences, University of Sassari, Viale Italia, 39, 07100 Sassari, Italy
  • 2Univ. Lyon, Univ. Claude Bernard Lyon 1, CNRS, ENTPE, UMR5023 LEHNA, F-69518, Vaulx-en-Velin, France
  • 3School of Plant and Environmental Sciences, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, VA, United State
  • 4Council for Agricultural Research and Economics-Agriculture and Environment Research Center (CREA-AA), Via Celso Ulpiani 5, 70125 Bari, Italy
  • 5Department of Agricultural, Food and Forest Sciences, University of Palermo, Palermo, Italy
  • 6Department of Land, Air and Water Resources, University of California, Davis, CA 95616, United States

The macroscopic capillary length is a critical parameter for the modeling of infiltration in single-ring experiments. Current methods to quantify this parameter either require multiple infiltration experiments, thus increasing effort and potential for error, or laboratory characterization that does not reflect field condition. We propose a simple field method for the estimation of the macroscopic capillary length, λc, from Beerkan runs (single-ring infiltration experiment with measurements of initial and saturated soil water contents). In the proposed method, we use the final portion of the cumulative infiltration, corresponding to the steady state of the water infiltration, to develop a reliable predictor of λc. The proposed model was validated using analytically generated data along with an experimental database that included 433 Beerkan runs from a wide range of conditions and types of soils. The analytical validation demonstrated the reliability of the proposed λc estimates for different soil textures and initial soil water contents. Altogether, the proposed method constitutes a simple solution for estimating λc, and it can improve our ability to estimate Ks in the field.

How to cite: Di Prima, S., Stewart, R. D., Castellini, M., Bagarello, V., Abou Najm, M. R., Pirastru, M., Giadrossich, F., Iovino, M., Angulo-Jaramillo, R., and Lassabatere, L.: Estimating the macroscopic capillary length using steady state infiltration, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-4097,, 2020


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