A new exponential model for predicting soil gas diffusivity with varying degree of saturation

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  • M. M. T. Lakshani
  • T. K. K. Chamindu Deepagoda
  • Shoichiro Hamamoto
  • Elberling, Bo
  • Wei Fu
  • Ting Yang
  • Jun Fan
  • Xiaoyi Ma
  • Timothy Clough
  • Kathleen M. Smits
  • T. G. Parameswaran
  • G. L. Sivakumar Babu
  • H. Chanakya

Soil gas diffusivity (Dp/Do, gas diffusion coefficients in soil and in free air, respectively) and its relation to soil moisture is of great importance for describing and quantifying essential provisional and regulatory functions associated with terrestrial ecosystems such as soil aeration and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Because gas migration in terrestrial soil systems is predominantly diffusion controlled, soil gas diffusivity becomes a fundamental prerequisite to quantify diffusive gas fluxes. Descriptive–predictive models are often used to estimate Dp/Do from easily measurable soil physical properties. Most of the available models take the form of power-law functions and often tend to mischaracterize soil moisture effects at high moisture regimes. Based on a wide range Dp/Do data available in literature representing both intact and repacked soils, this study developed a novel air-saturation-dependent exponential (ASEX) gas diffusivity model to model Dp/Do in relation to soil air saturation. The model variable α, which represents the diffusivity at half air saturation normalized by the same in complete soil air saturation, could potentially differentiate moisture effects on different soil structural states. For specific applications in intact soils, we propose corresponding α values for upper-limit (α =.6) and lower-limit (α =.05) estimates of diffusivity, while an average value (α =.3) for general applications in both intact and repacked soils. As expected, our model based on a few a priori measured supportive data showed a better performance over the classical predictive models that do not use such measurements. The new model was further used to derive useful implications to showcase soil density effects on Dp/Do.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere20236
JournalVadose Zone Journal
Issue number1
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 2023

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Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Authors. Vadose Zone Journal published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of Soil Science Society of America.

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