29 Sep 2022
29 Sep 2022
Status: this preprint is open for discussion.

On the interest of ground penetrating radar data for the estimation of unsaturated soil parameters

Rohianuu Moua, Nolwenn Lesparre, Jean-François Girard, Benjamin Belfort, François Lehmann, and Anis Younes Rohianuu Moua et al.
  • Université de Strasbourg, CNRS, ENGEES, EOST, ITES UMR 7063, F-67000 Strasbourg, France

Abstract. In this study, the interest of ground penetrating radar (GPR) time-lapse measurements for the estimation of hydrodynamic unsaturated soil parameters is investigated using synthetic infiltration experiments. Water movement and electromagnetic wave propagation in the unsaturated zone are modeled using a one-dimensional hydrogeophysical model. The GPR travel time data are analyzed for different reflectors: a moving reflector (the infiltration wetting front) and three fixed reflectors located at different depths in the soil. Global sensitivity analysis (GSA) is employed to assess the influence of the saturated hydraulic conductivity, the saturated and residual water contents, and the Mualem–van Genuchten shape parameters α and n of the soil on the GPR travel time data of the reflectors. Statistical calibration of the soil parameters is then performed using the Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) method. The impact of the type of reflector (moving or fixed) is then evaluated by analyzing the calibrated model parameters and their confidence intervals for different scenarios. GSA results show that the sensitivities of the moving and fixed reflectors data to the hydrodynamic soil parameters are different whereas the fixed reflectors have similar sensitivities. Results of parameter estimation show that the use of only data from the moving or fixed reflectors does not allow a good identification of all soil parameters. When both data are combined, all soil parameters can be well estimated with narrow confidence intervals.

Rohianuu Moua et al.

Status: open (extended)

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Rohianuu Moua et al.

Rohianuu Moua et al.


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Short summary
This work is an extension of what is known about a protocol used to measure the hydraulic properties of the soil. For instance, such properties characterize the ability of water to move through the soil, or the amount of water that is held in the soil in dry or wet conditions. We propose a modified version of the protocol, with which we show (i) how the data obtained with this protocol is influenced by the soil hydraulic properties and (ii) how to use it to estimate these properties.