Electromagnetic induction (EMI) methods are widely used for mapping soil properties at the field scale, including soil moisture (θ), with benefits for precision agriculture. Recent studies showed ambiguous results on the influence of θ on the measured bulk electrical conductivity (ECa). At the Schäfertal hillslope site (Germany), spatial distribution of soil properties as well as the spatial and temporal dynamics of θ patterns were studied in detail within an intensive hydrological monitoring. At the same time, repeated EMI surveys were conducted. with the aim to asses the suitability of repeated EMI surveys for mapping θ, and to investigate the limitations of its applicability for soil mapping. Results suggest that i) stable soil properties have the major effect on the EMI signal, while θ plays a minor role; ii) soil moisture may strenghten the ECa pattern when local soil properties control the θ pattern; iii) when the contribution of other factors is considerable, ECa patterns related to stable soil properties may be partially hidden. In conclusion, EMI measurements carried out under unsuitable hydrological conditions may lead to misinterpretation of soil properties, therefore combined pedological and hydrological expertise is necessary to support proximal soil sensing campaigns, with benefits for precision agriculture practices.


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