History of Lysimeter Design and Effects of Environmental Disturbances

by Philippe Grebet, INRA, Thiverval-Grignon, France,
Richard H. Cuenca, INRA, Thiverval-Grignon, France,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Lysimeters for Evapotranspiration and Environmental Measurements


A brief history of developments in lysimeter design is indicated. Disturbances introduced by the measurement system on the surrounding environment are discussed. The use of weighing lysimeters for accurate evapotranspiration measurement is considered. Points covered in the discussion are also applicable to other types of lysimeters. Environmental disturbances generated by alteration of the soil structure inside as well as outside the lysimeter arise from: a) Removal of a substantial volume of soil and compression of the soil surrounding the lysimeter. b) Insulation of a soil block from its surroundings causing fissures between the soil and the lysimeter side walls, the effect of the soil-air boundary at the bottom of the lysimeter, and the suppression of the horizontal subterranean flow of water. c) Architecture of the weighing system which requires a large volume for the system and in some cases a service tunnel beneath the soil tank. d) Management of the lysimeter which should be exactly the same as that of the surrounding field, but often is not.

Subject Headings: Soil compression | Soil water | History | Measuring instruments | Sustainable development | Environmental issues | Soil structures | Management methods

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