**Are you an EPFL student looking for a semester project?**

Work with us on data science and visualisation projects, and deploy your project as an app on top of Graph Search.

Publication# On the fractal structure of soil moisture fields

Abstract

We study the spatial structure of soil moisture fields within savanna ecosystems, whose persistence is vital because it is the driver of the entire ecological structure and function. These include changes in the physical and biogeochemical conditions of the landscape, affecting vegetation state, soil composition, water fluxes, and solar radiation. We focus on computations of the probabilistic structure of islands of soil moisture, known empirically to be related to that of tree clusters, defined as crossing properties of simulated soil moisture fields. Rainfall is modelled via Cox-Isham space-time fields endowed with characteristic scales. Results show that clusters of soil moisture islands are characterized by robust scale-free structures in the region of a phase transition whose order parameter depends on mean soil moisture. Signatures of this fractal structure are well-defined power laws of size distributions of soil moisture clusters; their perimeters-vs-area relations; variance-vsarea of the fields. These characteristics allow for the estimation of the fractal dimension of the field, and its Hurst coefficient. From the general covariance equation of a fractal field, spatial simulations are possible because its mean and variance are known from the probabilistic structure of soil moisture at a point. Our results identify the statistics of hotspots of microbial activity deduced from proper moisture islands, unattainable otherwise, and thus may guide the design of field and remote observations. The critical order parameter characterizing the phase transition establishes where the fractal structure of soil moisture fields exists as a function of the climatic drivers, and the thresholds reflecting where vegetation survives in the field. An example of application of the phase transition diagram presented here is carried out with reference to the Nylsvley savanna in South Africa.

Official source

This page is automatically generated and may contain information that is not correct, complete, up-to-date, or relevant to your search query. The same applies to every other page on this website. Please make sure to verify the information with EPFL's official sources.

Related MOOCs (15)

Related publications (43)

Related concepts (42)

SES Swiss-Energyscope

La transition énergique suisse / Energiewende in der Schweiz

Water quality and the biogeochemical engine

Learn about how the quality of water is a direct result of complex bio-geo-chemical interactions, and about how to use these processes to mitigate water quality issues.

Traitements et Applications en Télédétection

Ce cours s’adresse aux étudiants et professionnels qui ont recours aux données de
télédétection pour la réalisation de projets d’aménagement, de construction, de gestion
de l’environnement, de transpo

Soil

Soil, also commonly referred to as earth, is a mixture of organic matter, minerals, gases, liquids, and organisms that together support life of plants and soil organisms. Some scientific definitions distinguish dirt from soil by restricting the former term specifically to displaced soil. Soil consists of a solid phase of minerals and organic matter (the soil matrix), as well as a porous phase that holds gases (the soil atmosphere) and water (the soil solution). Accordingly, soil is a three-state system of solids, liquids, and gases.

Fractal dimension

In mathematics, a fractal dimension is a term invoked in the science of geometry to provide a rational statistical index of complexity detail in a pattern. A fractal pattern changes with the scale at which it is measured. It is also a measure of the space-filling capacity of a pattern, and it tells how a fractal scales differently, in a fractal (non-integer) dimension. The main idea of "fractured" dimensions has a long history in mathematics, but the term itself was brought to the fore by Benoit Mandelbrot based on his 1967 paper on self-similarity in which he discussed fractional dimensions.

Fractal

In mathematics, a fractal is a geometric shape containing detailed structure at arbitrarily small scales, usually having a fractal dimension strictly exceeding the topological dimension. Many fractals appear similar at various scales, as illustrated in successive magnifications of the Mandelbrot set. This exhibition of similar patterns at increasingly smaller scales is called self-similarity, also known as expanding symmetry or unfolding symmetry; if this replication is exactly the same at every scale, as in the Menger sponge, the shape is called affine self-similar.

Climate change is expected to alter the temporal distribution of precipitation events, leading to prolonged drought periods and an increased frequency of extreme precipitation events. Changes in precipitation pattern will directly affect soil moisture dyna ...

Hydrological and climatic modeling of near-surface water and energy fluxes is critically dependent on the availability of soil hydraulic parameters. Key among these parameters is the soil water characteristic curve (SWCC), a function relating soil water co ...

2022The estimation of plant-available soil water (PASW) is essential to quantify transpiration fluxes, the onset of heatwaves, irrigation water management, land-use decisions, vegetation ecology, and land surface memory in climate models. PASW is the amount of ...

2023