Multiple linear regressions to soil physico-chemical and structural properties
Colloids are potential carriers for strongly sorbing chemicals in macroporous soils, but predicting the amount of colloids readily available for facilitated chemical transport is an unsolved challenge. This study addresses potential key parameters and predictive indicators when assessing colloid dispersibility and transport at the field scale. Samples representing three measurement scales (1-2 mm aggregates, intact 100 cm3 rings, and intact 6283 cm3 columns) were retrieved from the topsoil of a 1.69 ha agricultural field in a 15 m × 15 m grid (65 locations) to determine soil dispersibility as well as 24 comparison parameters including textural, chemical, and structural (e.g. air permeability) 8 soil properties. The soil dispersibility was determined (i) using a laser diffraction method on 1-2 mm aggregates equilibrated to an initial matric potential of -100 cm H2O, (ii) using an end-over-end shaking on 6.06 cm (diam.) × 3.48 cm (height) cm intact soil rings equilibrated to an initial matric potential of -5 cm H2O, and (iii) as the accumulated amount of particles leached from 20 cm × 20 cm intact soil columns after 6.5 hr (60 mm accumulated outflow). At all three scales, soil dispersibility was higher in samples collected from the northern part of the field where the greatest leaching of pesticides was observed in a horizontal well at ~ 3.5 m depth during a 9-year monitoring program. This suggests that the three dispersibility methods used are all relevant for field-scale mapping of areas with enhanced risk of colloid-facilitated transport. Subsequently, using multiple linear regression (MLR) analyses, soil dispersibility was predicted at all three sample scales from the 24 measured, geo-referenced parameters to produce sets of only a few promising indicator parameters for evaluating soil stability and particle mobilization on field scale. The MLR analyses at each scale were separated in predictions using all, only north, and only south locations in the field. We found that different independent variables were included in the regression models when the sample scale increased from aggregate to column level. Generally, the predictive power of the regression models was better on the 1-2 mm aggregate scale than on the intact 100 cm3 and 20 cm × 20 cm scales. Overall, results suggested that different drivers controlled soil dispersibility 1 at the three scales and the two sub-areas of the field. Predictions of soil dispersibility and the risk of colloid-facilitated chemical transport will therefore need to be highly scale- and area-specific.
Journal of Environmental Quality, 2014, Vol 43, Issue 5, p. 1764-1778