PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY ›› 2019, Vol. 38 ›› Issue (8): 1150-1158.doi: 10.18306/dlkxjz.2019.08.004

• Special Column: Watershed Geography • Previous Articles     Next Articles

A review of soil water monitoring and modelling across spatial scales in the watershed

ZHU Qing1,2,LIAO Kaihua1,2,LAI Xiaoming1,2,LIU Ya1,2,LV Ligang3   

  1. 1. Key Laboratory of Watershed Geographic Sciences, Nanjing Institute of Geography and Limnology, CAS, Nanjing 210008, China
    2. University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
    3. School of Public Management, Nanjing University of Finance & Economics, Nanjing 210023, China;
  • Received:2018-06-12 Revised:2018-11-27 Online:2019-08-25 Published:2019-08-25
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China(41622102);Key Research Program of Frontier Sciences of Chinese Academy of Sciences(QYZDB-SSW-DQC038)


Soil water controls the basic spatial patterns and processes in earth’s surface system. As an important connection and driving force, it regulates a series of hydrological, ecological, climate and geological processes. In this review paper, we first introduced the advantages and disadvantages of different monitoring approaches (direct measurement, geophysical detection and remote sensing) for static soil water processes (soil water content and matric potential); and then introduced the research progress in measuring (runoff plot, tracer and geophysical detection) and modelling (dynamic wave, water balance and hydrodynamic models) dynamics soil water processes (soil water movement). Based on these, we proposed that the future researches should: 1) integrate the soil water monitoring techniques across spatial scales, 2) enhance the investigation in quantification and reduction of uncertainties in soil water modelling, and 3) coupling soil water processes with carbon and nitrogen transport and transformation. This review paper provides the new perspectives for researches and applications in acquiring high spatio-temporal resolution and accurate soil water data, and in revealing the processes and mechanisms and improving the modelling of soil water, carbon and nitrogen cycles.

Key words: earth's critical zone, spatial scales, hydropedology, soil moisture