Journal cover Journal topic
Hydrology and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
doi:10.5194/hess-2016-474
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed
under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
14 Sep 2016
Review status
A revision of this discussion paper was accepted for the journal Hydrology and Earth System Sciences (HESS) and is expected to appear here in due course.
Monitoring soil moisture from middle to high elevation in Switzerland: Set-up and first results from the SOMOMOUNT network
Cécile Pellet and Christian Hauck Department of Geosciences, University of Fribourg, Fribourg, 1700, Switzerland
Abstract. Besides its important role in the energy and water balance at the soil-atmosphere interface, soil moisture can be a particular important factor in mountain environments since it influences the amount of freezing and thawing in the subsurface and can affect the stability of slopes. In permafrost areas, it is strongly linked to the ground ice content and by this modifies the characteristics and behaviour of periglacial landforms.

In spite of its importance, the technical challenges and its strong spatial variability usually prevents soil moisture from being measured operationally at high and/or middle altitudes. This study describes the new Swiss soil moisture monitoring network SOMOMOUNT launched in 2013 consisting in six entirely automated soil moisture stations distributed along an altitudinal gradient between the Jura Mountains and the Swiss Alps, ranging from 1205 m to 3410 m elevation. In addition to the standard instrumentation comprising Frequency Domain Reflectometry (FDR) and Time Domain Reflectometry (TDR) sensors along vertical profiles, soil probes and meteorological data are available at each station.

In this contribution we will present a detailed description of the SOMOMOUNT instrumentation and calibration procedures. Additionally, the data collected during the three first years of the project will be discussed in relation to their altitudinal distribution. Clear differences in soil moisture patterns are visible between sites with permanently and seasonally frozen as well as unfrozen ground conditions and can be related to several factors such as the subsurface composition (organic versus mineral), the elevation and the snow cover characteristics.


Citation: Pellet, C. and Hauck, C.: Monitoring soil moisture from middle to high elevation in Switzerland: Set-up and first results from the SOMOMOUNT network, Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci. Discuss., doi:10.5194/hess-2016-474, in review, 2016.
Cécile Pellet and Christian Hauck
Cécile Pellet and Christian Hauck

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This paper presents a detailed description of the new Swiss soil moisture monitoring network SOMOMOUNT, which comprises six stations distributed along an elevation gradient ranging from 1205 to 3410 m. The three first years of observation reveal distinct soil moisture patterns between sites with different ground thermal regime (i.e. permafrost, seasonal frost and no frost). The relation of soil moisture with other factors such as the surface composition and the snow chracheristics is also shown.
This paper presents a detailed description of the new Swiss soil moisture monitoring network...
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