The horizontal variability of soil hydraulic parameters, water content and suction measured within two research fields in Denmark is analyzed and discussed.
A numerical analysis of the flow in the two spatially heterogeneous fields is carried out by assuming that the fields are composed of ensembles of one-dimensional non-interacting soil columns, each column representing a possible soil profile in statistical terms. Flow predictions based on the classical Richards' equation are carried out for all columns, and the mean and standard deviation of water content and suction in planes perpendicular to the flow direction is derived and compared to measurements. The analysis shows that the model to a reasonable degree is able to describe most of the variation in flow variables within the two fields.
The concept of equivalent soil properties is also investigated and applied to the two fields. Based on the average retention properties it is possible to predict the horizontal averages of flow variables within the fields.