Renato Pardo Lara


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Implications of measurement metrics on soil freezing curves: A simulation of freeze–thaw hysteresis
Renato Pardo Lara, Aaron Berg, Jon Warland, Gary Parkin
Hydrological Processes, Volume 35, Issue 7

Soil freeze-thaw events have important implications for water resources, flood risk, land productivity, and climate change. A property of these phenomena is the relationship between unfrozen water content and sub-freezing temperature, known as the soil freezing characteristic curve (SFC). It is documented that this relationship exhibits hysteretic behaviour when frozen soil thaws, leading to the definition of the soil thawing characteristic curve (STC). Although explanations have been given for SFC/STC hysteresis, the effect that “scale”—particularly “measurement scale”—may have on these curves has received little attention. The most commonly used measurement scale metric is the “grain” or “support,” which is the spatial (or temporal) unit within which the measured variable is integrated—in this case, the soil volume sampled. We show (1) measurement support can influence the range and shape of the SFC and (2) hysteresis can be, at least partially, attributed to the support and location of the measurements comprising the SFC/STC. We simulated lab measured temperature, volumetric water content (VWC), and permittivity from soil samples undergoing freeze-thaw transitions using Hydrus-1D and a modified Dobson permittivity model. To assess the effect of measurement support and location on SFC/STC, we masked the simulated temperature and VWC/permittivity extent to match the instrument’s grain and location. By creating a detailed simulation of the intra- and inter-grain variability associated with the penetration of a freezing front, we demonstrate how measurement support and location can influence the temperature range over which water freezing events are captured. We show it is possible to simulate hysteresis in homogenous media with purely geometric considerations, suggesting that SFC/STC hysteresis may be more of an apparent phenomenon than mechanistically real. Lastly, we develop an understanding of how the location and support of soil temperature and VWC/permittivity measurements influence the temperature range over which water freezing events are captured.

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Soil dielectric characterization during freeze–thaw transitions using L-band coaxial and soil moisture probes
Alex Mavrovic, Renato Pardo Lara, Aaron Berg, François Demontoux, A. Royer, Alexandre Roy
Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, Volume 25, Issue 3

Abstract. Soil microwave permittivity is a crucial parameter in passive microwave retrieval algorithms but remains a challenging variable to measure. To validate and improve satellite microwave data products, precise and reliable estimations of the relative permittivity (εr=ε/ε0=ε′-jε′′; unitless) of soils are required, particularly for frozen soils. In this study, permittivity measurements were acquired using two different instruments: the newly designed open-ended coaxial probe (OECP) and the conventional Stevens HydraProbe. Both instruments were used to characterize the permittivity of soil samples undergoing several freeze–thaw cycles in a laboratory environment. The measurements were compared to soil permittivity models. The OECP measured frozen (εfrozen′=[3.5; 6.0], εfrozen′′=[0.46; 1.2]) and thawed (εthawed′=[6.5; 22.8], εthawed′′=[1.43; 5.7]) soil microwave permittivity. We also demonstrate that cheaper and widespread soil permittivity probes operating at lower frequencies (i.e., Stevens HydraProbe) can be used to estimate microwave permittivity given proper calibration relative to an L-band (1–2 GHz) probe. This study also highlighted the need to improve dielectric soil models, particularly during freeze–thaw transitions. There are still important discrepancies between in situ and modeled estimates and no current model accounts for the hysteresis effect shown between freezing and thawing processes, which could have a significant impact on freeze–thaw detection from satellites.


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In Situ Estimates of Freezing/Melting Point Depression in Agricultural Soils Using Permittivity and Temperature Measurements
Renato Pardo Lara, Aaron Berg, Jon Warland, Erica Tetlock
Water Resources Research, Volume 56, Issue 5

We present a method to characterize soil moisture freeze‐thaw events and freezing/melting point depression using permittivity and temperature measurements, readily available from in situ sources. In cold regions soil freeze‐thaw processes play a critical role in the surface energy and water balance, with implications ranging from agricultural yields to natural disasters. Although monitoring of the soil moisture phase state is of critical importance, there is an inability to interpret soil moisture instrumentation in frozen conditions. To address this gap, we investigated the freeze‐thaw response of a widely used soil moisture probe, the HydraProbe, in the laboratory. Soil freezing curves (SFCs) and soil thawing curves (STCs) were identified using the relationship between soil permittivity and temperature. The permittivity SFC/STC was fit using a logistic growth model to estimate the freezing/melting point depression (Tf/m) and its spread (s). Laboratory results showed that the fitting routine requires permittivity changes greater than 3.8 to provide robust estimates and suggested that a temperature bias is inherent in horizontally placed HydraProbes. We tested the method using field measurements collected over the last 7 years from the Environment and Climate Change Canada and the University of Guelph's Kenaston Soil Moisture Network in Saskatchewan, Canada. By dividing the time series into freeze‐thaw events and then into individual transitions, the permittivity SFC/STC was identified. The freezing and melting point depression for the network was estimated as Tf/m = − 0.35 ± 0.2,with Tf = − 0.41 ± 0.22 °C and Tm = − 0.29 ± 0.16 °C, respectively.


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Capturing agricultural soil freeze/thaw state through remote sensing and ground observations: A soil freeze/thaw validation campaign
Tracy Rowlandson, Aaron Berg, Alex Roy, Edward Kim, Renato Pardo Lara, Jarrett Powers, Kristin Lewis, Paul R. Houser, K. C. McDonald, Peter Toose, An-Ming Wu, Eugenia De Marco, Chris Derksen, Jared Entin, Andreas Colliander, Xiaolan Xu, Alex Mavrovic
Remote Sensing of Environment, Volume 211

Abstract A field campaign was conducted October 30th to November 13th, 2015 with the intention of capturing diurnal soil freeze/thaw state at multiple scales using ground measurements and remote sensing measurements. On four of the five sampling days, we observed a significant difference between morning (frozen scenario) and afternoon (thawed scenario) ground-based measurements of the soil relative permittivity. These results were supported by an in situ soil moisture and temperature network (installed at the scale of a spaceborne passive microwave pixel) which indicated surface soil temperatures fell below 0 °C for the same four sampling dates. Ground-based radiometers appeared to be highly sensitive to F/T conditions of the very surface of the soil and indicated normalized polarization index (NPR) values that were below the defined freezing values during the morning sampling period on all sampling dates. The Scanning L-band Active Passive (SLAP) instrumentation, flown over the study region, showed very good agreement with the ground-based radiometers, with freezing states observed on all four days that the airborne observations covered the fields with ground-based radiometers. The Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) satellite had morning overpasses on three of the sampling days, and indicated frozen conditions on two of those days. It was found that >60% of the in situ network had to indicate surface temperatures below 0 °C before SMAP indicated freezing conditions. This was also true of the SLAP radiometer measurements. The SMAP, SLAP and ground-based radiometer measurements all indicated freezing conditions when soil temperature sensors installed at 5 cm depth were not frozen.