ISMC2021-44, updated on 21 Apr 2023
3rd ISMC Conference ─ Advances in Modeling Soil Systems
© Author(s) 2023. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Agricultural hillslope soil heterogeneity challenges: first experimental results from SUPREHILL critical zone observatory

Vedran Krevh1, Jasmina Defterdarović1, Lana Filipović1, Zoran Kovač2, Steffen Beck-Broichsitter3, Jannis Groh3,4, Jaromir Dusek5, Horst H. Gerke3, Radka Kodešová6, and Vilim Filipović1
Vedran Krevh et al.
  • 1University of Zagreb, Faculty of Agriculture, Department of soil amelioration, Croatia
  • 2University of Zagreb Faculty of Mining, Geology and Petroleum Engineering; Croatia
  • 3Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research, Germany
  • 4Forschungszentrum Jülich, Germany
  • 5Czech Technical University in Prague Faculty of Civil Engineering, Czech Republic
  • 6Czech University of Life Sciences Prague, Czech Republic

SUPREHILL is a new (2020) and first Croatian critical zone observatory (CZO), focused on local scale agricultural e.g., vineyard hillslope processes. The experimental setup includes an extensive sensor-based network accompanied by weighing lysimeters and instruments for surface and subsurface hydrology measurement. The field measurements are supported by novel laboratory and numerical quantification methods for the determination of water flow and solute transport. This combined approach will allow the research team to accurately determine soil water balance components (soil water flow, preferential flow/transport pathways, surface runoff, evapotranspiration), the temporal origin of water in hillslope hydrology (isotopes), transport of agrochemicals, and to calibrate and validate numerical modeling procedures for describing and predicting soil water flow and solute transport. First results from sensors indicate increased soil moisture on the hilltop, which is supported by precipitation data from rain gauges and weighing lysimeters. The presence of a compacted soil horizon and compacted inter-row parts (due to trafficking) of the vineyard seems to be highly relevant in regulating water dynamics. Wick lysimeters confirm the sensor soil moisture data, while showing a significant difference in its repetitions which suggests a possibility of a preferential flow imposed by local scale soil heterogeneity. Measured values of surface and subsurface runoff suggest a crucial role of these processes in the hillslope hydrology, while slope and structure dynamics additionally influence soil hydraulic properties. We are confident that the CZO will give us new insights in the landscape heterogeneity and substantially increase our understanding regarding preferential flow and nonlinear solute transport, with results directly applicable in agricultural (sloped agricultural soil management) and environmental (soil and water) systems. Challenges remain in characterizing local scale soil heterogeneity, dynamic properties quantification and scaling issues for which we will rely on combining CZO focused measurements and numerical modeling after substantial data is collected.

How to cite: Krevh, V., Defterdarović, J., Filipović, L., Kovač, Z., Beck-Broichsitter, S., Groh, J., Dusek, J., Gerke, H. H., Kodešová, R., and Filipović, V.: Agricultural hillslope soil heterogeneity challenges: first experimental results from SUPREHILL critical zone observatory, 3rd ISMC Conference ─ Advances in Modeling Soil Systems, online, 18–22 May 2021, ISMC2021-44,, 2021.