American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers

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Modeling Soil Temperature, Frost Depth, and Soil Moisture Redistribution in Seasonally Frozen Agricultural Soils

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Applied Engineering in Agriculture. 25(6): 871-882. (doi: 10.13031/2013.29237) @2009
Authors:   F. C. Kahimba, R. Sri Ranjan, D. D. Mann
Keywords:   SHAW model, Frost depth, Soil moisture, Soil freezing, Soil temperature

Soil freezing and thawing processes and soil moisture redistribution play a critical role in the hydrology and microclimate of seasonally frozen agricultural soils. Accurate simulations of the depth and timing of frost and the redistribution of soil water are important for planning farm operations and choosing rotational crops. The Simultaneous Heat and Water (SHAW) model was used to predict soil temperature, frost depth, and soil moisture in agricultural soils near Carman, Manitoba. The model simulations were compared with three years of field data collected from summer 2005 to the summer 2007 in four cropping system treatments (oats with berseem clover cover crop, oats alone, canola, and fallow). The simulated soil temperatures compared well with the measured data in all the seasons (R2=0.96-0.99). The soil moisture simulations were better during the summer (RMSE=9.1-12.0% of the mean) compared to the winter seasons (RMSE=17.5-19.7% of the mean). During the winter, SHAW over-predicted by 0.02 to 0.10 m3 m-3 the amount of total soil moisture below the freeze front and under-predicted by 0.02 to 0.05 m3 m-3 the soil moisture in the upper frozen layers. The model was revised to account for the reduction in effective pore space resulting from frozen water to improve the winter soil moisture predictions. After this revision, the model performed well during the winter (RMSE=14.4% vs. 17.5%; R2=0.74 vs. 0.67 in vegetated treatments, and RMSE=12.9% vs. 19.7%; R2=0.73 vs. 0.52 in fallow treatments). The modified SHAW model is an enhanced tool for predicting the soil moisture status as a function of depth during spring thawing, and for assessing the availability of soil moisture at the beginning of the subsequent growing season.

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