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Revista Brasileira de Ciência do Solo

On-line version ISSN 1806-9657


BARROS, Cláudia Alessandra Peixoto de et al. Estimation of soil water infiltration at the catchment scale. Rev. Bras. Ciênc. Solo [online]. 2014, vol.38, n.2, pp.557-564. ISSN 1806-9657.

The spatial variability of soil characteristics makes the estimation of water infiltration highly dependent on the scale of analysis. Many studies require information on the dynamics of infiltration to describe the dynamics of other processes associated with water, sediment and solutes. This study aims to use two methodological strategies to estimate water infiltration at the catchment scale. The parameters of two infiltration models were fitted to a data set collected over two years of monitoring (77 rainfall-runoff events) occurring under different land use and management conditions in a rural catchment of 1.2 km2. The results of fitting to the two infiltration models at the catchment scale were compared with those obtained from two site-specific methods for estimating infiltration. With the set of monitoring data, it was possible to establish an infiltration model for the monitored catchment area. Furthermore, the results indicate that the comparison between values from the models and site-specific values are strongly dependent on the scale of analysis. That is, the site-specific measures showed mean values of high infiltration rates for this catchment, but field observations indicate low infiltration, especially in saturated areas, which affect runoff in this catchment area. This is in contrast with the results obtained by the estimation models, which present a lower order of magnitude for the estimated values of infiltration, due to the greater incorporation of factors controlling the process in their methodology, among other aspects.

Keywords : environmental monitoring; hydrological modeling; hydrological processes.

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