Accurate in-situ measurements of soil water content is of utmost importance for agriculture, hydrology and environmental research. For instance, soil water plays an essential role in an ecosystem for the growth of the plants and limits the erop yield more than any other soil or meteorological variable. Existing methods for soil moisture measurement (i.e. gravimetric method by oven drying or time domain reflectometry (TDR) are unsuitable for large areas because of the high variability of soil moisture. In various large-scale field measurements Sperl et al. (1997) evaluated the capability of the ground wave of ground-penetrating radar (GPR) for the determination of the volumetric soil water content (Bv). For a better understanding of the frequency dependenee of the influence depth of the ground wave we designed physical experiments. In addition to these experiments simulations of the electromagnetic wave propagation based on a Finite-Difference- Time- Domain (FDTD) scheme were carried out to prove the physical experiments. Here we will show, that slight variations in the depth of the capillary fringe can have an extreme influence on the propagation of the electromagnetic waves in the subsurface and on the measurement of the velocity of the ground wave which is used to determine 0v.


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