Soilpsi: A potential-driven three-dimensional soil water redistribution model - Description and comparative evaluation

G. W. Theseira, G. E. Host, J. G. Isebrands, F. D. Whisler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


ECOPHYS, an individual-based process model for poplar, requires a three-dimensional soil water redistribution model to simulate soil water dynamics, plant uptake, and root growth. SOILPSI is a potential-driven water redistribution model based on the RHIZOS rhizosphere simulator. It expands on RHIZOS by calculating water flux based on water potential, and has a macropore flow mode to allow rapid drainage of the soil. SOILPSI simulates water flux in three dimensions and accounts for slope. SOILPSI was evaluated by comparing model output to soil moisture data collected under bare soil conditions. AMMI analysis of a date x depth matrix of differences between simulated and observed soil moisture content showed that excluding the two shallowest soil layers resulted in a difference matrix that conformed to an additive model. The grand mean predicted values were within 2% of the observed values, and 50 of 56 predicted values were within 5% of the observed values. Better agreements between simulated and observed soil moisture content were observed deeper in the soil profile and later in the season. Agreement between SOILPSI and field conditions was consistently more accurate than RHIZOS. Improving simulation of evaporative flux at the soil surface would improve simulation accuracy in the upper horizons.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13-23
Number of pages11
JournalEnvironmental Modelling and Software
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2003

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This project is funded jointly by the US Department of Energy under Contract #DE-A105-800R20763 with the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the Northern Global Change Program of the USDA Forest Service, and the Computational Biology Program of the National Science Foundation, Proposal DBI-9723595. This paper is contribution number 221 of the Center for Water and the Environment, Natural Resource Research Institute, University of Minnesota Duluth, Duluth, MN.


  • Rhizosphere model
  • Root model
  • Soil model
  • Water flow
  • Water redistribution


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