Development of calibration algorithms for selected water content reflectometry probes for burned and non‐burned organic soils of Alaska

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Water content reflectometry is a method used by many commercial manufacturers of affordable sensors to electronically estimate soil moisture content. Field-deployable and handheld water content reflectometry probes were used in a variety of organic soil-profile types in Alaska. These probes were calibrated using 65 organic soil samples harvested from these burned and unburned, primarily moss-dominated sites in the boreal forest. Probe output was compared with gravimetrically measured volumetric moisture content, to produce calibration algorithms for surface-down-inserted handheld probes in specific soil-profile types, as well as field-deployable horizontally inserted probes in specific organic soil horizons. General organic algorithms for each probe type were also developed. Calibrations are statistically compared to determine their suitability. The resulting calibrations showed good agreement with in situvalidation and varied from the default mineral-soil-based calibrations by 20% or more. These results are of particular interest to researchers measuring soil moisture content with water content reflectometry probes in soils with high organic content.

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© 2010 IAWF . Publisher's version of record: http://doi.org/10.1071/WF07175

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International Journal of Wildland Fire