Soil moisture patterns in semiarid hillslopes: Linkage to surface water redistribution

Itzhak Katra, Dan G. Blumberg, Hanoch Lavee, Pariente Sarah

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The water content of the upper soil layer is an important factor in the geomorphic response of a semiarid hillslope to rainfall events. Remotely sensed thermal infrared data acquired by a ground-based platform were used for spatially detailed measurement of the temporal changes of the topsoil moisture contents in a semiarid area in the northeastern Negev, Israel. The results highlight the effect of native shrubs on the soil moisture content, distribution, and dynamics during desiccation following runoff events. At the shrub scale, there was a general spatio-temporal pattern of topsoil moisture behavior manifested as a dynamic moist patch and controlled by pedohydrological properties, hillslope aspect, and microtopography. At the hillslope scale, the areas of higher soil moisture at the end of runoff events are closely associated with the vegetation pattern. The topsoil moisture dynamics indicate patchiness in the hydrological response of semiarid hillslopes to rainfall events, and thereby improve our understanding of the mosaic-like patterns of source and sink areas for runoff and sediments in these systems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)281-289
Number of pages9
JournalIsrael Journal of Earth Sciences
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2008


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