In Search of a Soil Moisture Content Simulation Model: Mechanistic and Data Mining Approach Based on TDR Method Results

Sensors (Basel). 2021 Oct 14;21(20):6819. doi: 10.3390/s21206819.


Soil moisture content simulation models have continuously been an important research objective. In particular, the comparisons of the performance of different model types deserve proper attention. Therefore, the quality of selected physically-based and statistical models was analyzed utilizing the data from the Time Domain Reflectometry technique. An E-Test measurement system was applied with the reflectogram interpreted into soil volumetric moisture content by proper calibration equations. The gathered data facilitated to calibrate the physical model of Deardorff and establish parameters of: support vector machines, multivariate adaptive regression spline, and boosted trees model. The general likelihood uncertainty estimation revealed the sensitivity of individual model parameters. As it was assumed, a simple structure of statistical models was achieved but no direct physical interpretation of their parameters, contrary to a physically-based method. The TDR technique proved useful for the calibration of different soil moisture models and a satisfactory quality for their future exploitation.

Keywords: dielectric permittivity; modeling; sensitivity analysis; soil moisture content; uncertainty.

MeSH terms

  • Computer Simulation
  • Data Mining
  • Soil*
  • Trees
  • Water* / analysis


  • Soil
  • Water