McMaster Mesonet soil moisture dataset: description and spatio-temporal variability analysis 1School of Geography and Earth Science, McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada
29 Apr 2013
2Department of Civil Engineering, McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada
Received: 16 Nov 2012 – Published in Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci. Discuss.: 19 Dec 2012Abstract. This paper introduces and describes the hourly, high-resolution soil moisture
dataset continuously recorded by the McMaster Mesonet located in the
Hamilton-Halton Watershed in Southern Ontario, Canada. The McMaster Mesonet
consists of a network of time domain reflectometer (TDR) probes collecting
hourly soil moisture data at six depths between 10 cm and 100 cm at nine
locations per site, spread across four sites in the 1250 km2 watershed.
The sites for the soil moisture arrays are designed to further improve
understanding of soil moisture dynamics in a seasonal climate and to capture
soil moisture transitions in areas that have different topography, soil and
land cover. The McMaster Mesonet soil moisture constitutes a unique database
in Canada because of its high spatio-temporal resolution. In order to
provide some insight into the dominant processes at the McMaster Mesonet
sites, a spatio-temporal and temporal stability analysis were conducted to
identify spatio-temporal patterns in the data and to suggest some physical
interpretation of soil moisture variability. It was found that the seasonal
climate of the Great Lakes Basin causes a transition in soil moisture
patterns at seasonal timescales. During winter and early spring months, and
at the meadow sites, soil moisture distribution is governed by topographic
redistribution, whereas following efflorescence in the spring and summer,
soil moisture spatial distribution at the forested site was also controlled
by vegetation canopy. Analysis of short-term temporal stability revealed
that the relative difference between sites was maintained unless there was
significant rainfall (> 20 mm) or wet conditions a priori.
Following a disturbance in the spatial soil moisture distribution due to
wetting, the relative soil moisture pattern re-emerged in 18 to 24 h.
Access to the McMaster Mesonet data can be provided by visiting
Revised: 20 Mar 2013 – Accepted: 03 Apr 2013 – Published: 29 Apr 2013
Citation: Kornelsen, K. C. and Coulibaly, P.: McMaster Mesonet soil moisture dataset: description and spatio-temporal variability analysis, Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 17, 1589-1606, doi:10.5194/hess-17-1589-2013, 2013.