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Abstract

Drying of Urmia Lake in the north-west of Iran threatens all the agricultural lands around the Lake. Therefore, soil salinity appears to be the major threat to the agricultural lands in the area. The aim of the present study was to investigate the spatial variation of top soil salinity by taking into account of underground water quality data as secondary information. The research was performed on a grid of 500 m in an area of 5000 ha. Soil samples were gathered during the autumn of 2009 and were repeated in the spring of 2010. Electrical conductivity of soil samples was measured in a 1:2.5 soil to water suspension. Then covariance functions were build for each data set and soil salinity prediction were done on a grid of 100 m using kriging estimator with taking into account the mean variation. Afterwards sodium activity ratio derived from underground water quality database was used as covariate to develop cross-semivarograms in prediction of top soil salinity using cokriging method. Results demonstrated that soil salinity varied from values lower than 0.5 to more than 35 dSm-1 as a function of distance to the Lake. Cross-validating the results from salinity predictions using only kriging estimator to that of cokriging with sodium activity ratio data revealed that kriging offered better estimations with ME of 0.04 for autumn 2009 and -0.12 for spring 2010. Cokriging estimator had more smoother and diffused boundaries than that of kriging and resulted in more bias estimations (ME= -0.11 and -0.21 for first and second data sets). Although kriging method had better performance in top soil salinity prediction, but cokring method resulted in smoother boundaries and reduced the negative effects of mean variation in the area.

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