Soil moisture monitoring on a steep hillside

Sanghyun Kim, Heysun Lee, Nam C. Woo, Joon Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


In this study, a soil monitoring system for a hillslope with steep relief and shallow soil depth was designed and installed to represent efficiently the spatial and temporal features of soil moisture. The study was conducted on a mountainous hillslope of the Sulmachun catchment (northeastern South Korea). The positions of soil moisture sensors were determined through a sequential procedure including intensive geomorphologic surveying of the study area, surface and subsurface terrain analysis, and inverse surveying. Using 26 sensors, soil moisture data from 11 locations were measured and recorded at hourly intervals over 380 h from 6 to 22 November 2003. Soil moisture response patterns were captured for a few consecutive rainfall events. The monitoring results are discussed in the context of soil moisture variations with terrain attributes. The immediate recharge and fast recession after a peak are the primary features of soil moisture in the upper zone. Stability and significant storage increase are distinct characteristics of soil moisture in the buffer zone and the flow path zone respectively. Spatial distribution of temporal soil moisture variations can be characterized in terms of recession, stability and recharge depending upon the topographic classification of a hillslope for this approach.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2910-2922
Number of pages13
JournalHydrological Processes
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - 2007 Oct 15

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Water Science and Technology


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