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Characteristics of seasonal changes in soil water in an agricultural field in Okhotsk-Abashiri region with soil freezing

DOI JASI Open Access
  • SUZUKI Shinji
    Department of Bioproduction and Environment Engineering, Faculty of Regional Environment Science, Tokyo University of Agriculture
  • SAEKI Tomomi
    Kobe City Office
  • ITO Hirotake
    Department of Northern Biosphere Agriculture, Faculty of Bioindustry, Tokyo University of Agriculture
  • WATANABE Fumio
    Department of Bioproduction and Environment Engineering, Faculty of Regional Environment Science, Tokyo University of Agriculture

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Other Title
  • 凍結をともなうオホーツク網走地域の農地における土壌水分の季節変動の特徴
  • トウケツ オ トモナウ オホーツク アバシリ チイキ ノ ノウチ ニ オケル ドジョウ スイブン ノ キセツ ヘンドウ ノ トクチョウ

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Abstract

Agriculture in Okhotsk-Abashiri region, Hokkaido, Japan has been led by large-scale upland farming systems, and seasonally frozen soil has occurred in this area. Recently, there is a concern that the hydrological environment in this region has been changing due to changes in both rainfall and snowfall patterns associated with climate change. In the current study, continuous monitoring of soil water movement was undertaken in an upland field in this region during the period from July 2011 to June 2012. Particularly, this study focused on clarifying characteristics of the soil water movement caused by soil freezing-thawing and infiltration of snowmelt water. Dielectric water potential sensors were used for measuring soil matric potentials to derive water flux at deeper soil depths. The annual maximum soil frost depth was 0.28 m. The maximum surface soil water content was observed immediately after surface soil melted. The magnitude of downward water flux at a depth of 0.40 m recorded in early April (freezing period) was higher than the magnitude recorded in June (non-freezing period) with large amount of rainfall. Changes in soil water content at deeper layer due to the soil freezing and snowmelt water infiltration were similar to changes of soil water content resulting from drying followed by rainfall infiltration in nonfreezing period. Further, it is revealed that all snowmelt water (116.5 mm) infiltrated into the soil without ponding before the frozen soil layer melted. The results suggest that the soil frost with a depth of 0.28 m observed in the current study was insufficient to impede the infiltration of the snowmelt water associated with high porosity of the soil.

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