Ecohydrology of groundwaterdependent ecosystems: 2. Stochastic soil moisture dynamics Academic Article uri icon


  • In groundwater-dependent ecosystems, interactions between rainfall, water table fluctuations, and vegetation are exerted through the soil water content. The dynamics of soil moisture, in fact, are strongly coupled to fluctuations of the water table and, together, they control the overall ecosystem dynamics. We propose here a simple process-based stochastic model for the study of soil moisture dynamics at a generic depth, to complement the stochastic model of water table depth presented in the companion paper. The model presented here is based on a local and depth-dependent water balance driven by stochastic rainfall (marked Poisson noise) and accounting for processes such as rainfall infiltration, root water uptake, and capillary rise. We obtain a semianalytical formulation of the stationary probability distribution of soil water content at different depths, which is studied for different values of soil, climate, and vegetation parameters. The probability distributions are used to investigate the ecohydrology of groundwater-dependent ecosystems, including the quantitative description of the vegetation-water table-soil moisture interplay and the probabilistic analysis of root water uptake. Copyright 2009 by the American Geophysical Union.

published proceedings

  • Water Resources Research

author list (cited authors)

  • Tamea, S., Laio, F., Ridolfi, L., D'Odorico, P., & RodriguezIturbe, I.

citation count

  • 47

complete list of authors

  • Tamea, Stefania||Laio, Francesco||Ridolfi, Luca||D'Odorico, Paolo||Rodriguez‐Iturbe, Ignacio

publication date

  • May 2009