Natural Resources, School of


Date of this Version



Published in Progress in Physical Geography 20:3 (1996), pp 273–291.



Copyright © 1996 Arnold; published by SAGE Publications. Used by permission.


Soil moisture storage is an important component of the hydrological cycle and plays a key role in land-surface-atmosphere interaction. The soil-moisture storage equation in this study considers precipitation as an input and soil moisture as a residual term for runoff and evapotranspiration. A number of models have been developed to estimate soil moisture storage and the components of the soil-moisture storage equation. A detailed discussion of the implication of the scale of application of these models reports that it is not possible to extrapolate processes and their estimates from the small to the large scale. It is also noted that physically based models for small-scale applications are sufficiently detailed to reproduce land-surface-atmosphere interactions. On the other hand, models for large-scale applications oversimplify the processes. Recently developed physically based models for large-scale applications can only be applied to limited uses because of data restrictions and the problems associated with land surface characterization. It is reported that remote sensing can play an important role in overcoming the problems related to the unavailability of data and the land surface characterization of large-scale applications of these physically based models when estimating soil moisture storage.