Estimation of soil water retention curve in semi-arid areas using fractal dimension
The soil water retention curve (SWRC) is one of the important hydraulic functions in water flow modeling and solute transport in the porous medium. Direct measurement of SWRC is time consuming and expensive, therefore different models have been developed to describe it. In this study, a model based on fractal theory was derived to estimate water retention curve. The fractal dimension of SWRC (DSWRC) for 130 soil samples (with a spread range of soil texture) were determined and tried to find out a simple relation between this parameter and easily available soil properties such as clay, silt and sand contents, lime percent and bulk density by applying multiple linear regression analysis. The measured DSWRC for 110 soil samples used for regression analysis and 20 soil samples was used for model validation. The regression analysis showed a linear relationship between DSWRC, with clay, silt contents and soil bulk density with the goodness of fit, R2 = 0.909, but lime content did not show any significant effect on SWRC prediction improvement. Therefore, it can be concluded that estimating SWRC in calcareous soil using DSWRC obtained from soil easily measured properties will be a good, rapid and reliable alternative for reliable estimation of soil hydraulic properties of these areas.
Keywords: Fractal model; lime percent; Regression analysis; Soil water retention curve