Ground-penetrating radar (GPR) ground wave techniques were applied to estimate soil water content in the uppermost ∼10 cm of a 3 acre California vineyard several times over 1 year. We collected densely spaced GPR travel time measurements using 900 and 450 MHz antennas and analyzed these data to estimate water content. The spatial distribution of water content across the vineyard did not change significantly with time, although the absolute water content values varied seasonally and with irrigation. The GPR estimates of water content were compared to gravimetric water content, time domain reflectometry, and soil texture measurements. The comparisons of GPR-derived estimates of water content to gravimetric water content measurements showed that the GPR estimates had a root mean square error of volumetric water content of the order of 0.01. The results from this study indicate that GPR ground waves can be used to provide noninvasive, spatially dense estimates of shallow water content over large areas and in a rapid manner.


Geosciences and Geological and Petroleum Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Geophysics; GPR; Groundwaves; Precision agriculture; Water content; Data acquisition; Error analysis; Ground penetrating radar systems; Time measurement; Field-scale estimation; Water resources; California; North America; United States

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)


Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version

Final Version

File Type





© 2003 Wiley-Blackwell, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Nov 2003

Included in

Geology Commons