Historic record of pasture soil water and the influence of the North Atlantic Oscillation in south-west England

Anita Shepherd, Wellen Atuhaire, Lianhai Wu, David Hogan, Robert Dunn, Laura Cardenas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
9 Downloads (Pure)


© IWA Publishing 2017. The North Wyke Farm Platform for sustainable grassland research in south-west England contains infrastructure measuring soil moisture and field runoff. Its time series of sensor data is used to validate the parsimonious SH2O-NW model for soil water at field-scale. Thirty-four years of daily soil moisture and runoff is simulated, and used to detect long-term trends and produce a risk analysis. The model accounts for wetter periods of soil moisture and the main summer soil deficit and autumn re-wetting; limitations involve short-term, rapid changes in drying and re-wetting. The soil moisture sensor observations however do not reflect field variability. Analysis of more than one field allows an assessment of unexpected sensor anomalies. The paper recommends that soil moisture sensor confidence levels be provided, for comparison against modelled data. The simulations show a historic reduction in the occurrence of summer soil moisture deficits above a third of water capacity, while the winter precipitation and runoff simulation shows a stable long-term trend, matching the direction and magnitude of the North Atlantic Oscillation Index. A large runoff of 400 m3/day from a 1.75 ha pasture has a 0.07% probability, having a return period of once in 4 years during the 34-year period.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)277-294
Number of pages18
JournalHydrology Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2017

Bibliographical note

The North Wyke Farm Platform is a National Capability funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council in the UK (project number BB/J004308/1). Climate data were measured at the MIDAS Land Surface Station DLY3208 DEVON, UK, a weather station of the UK Meteorological Office. We would especially like to thank Dr Melannie Hartmann, NREL, Colorado State University for the inclusion and use of the DayCent model, and advice on preparation of model parameters.


  • farm platform
  • flooding risk
  • North Atlantic Oscillation
  • run off
  • soil moisture


Dive into the research topics of 'Historic record of pasture soil water and the influence of the North Atlantic Oscillation in south-west England'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this