Lysimeters are an important way of determining the water balance for ecosystems using water balance parameters. In addition to the quantity, it is also possible to investigate the quality of seepage water. Soil monoliths of defined dimensions are taken from their natural environment and given defined boundary conditions. In combination with corresponding measurement technology, it is possible to investigate the function and mode of action of Eco systems in this way. The results can be transferred from small to large scales and are among other things a good method to determine the evapotranspiration of a defined area (typically 1-2 m²), of the water and solute transport in a defined volume (typically 1-5 m³) and the degradation and conversion of substances under weathering influences. Due to the possibility of long term outdoor investigations under real location conditions, statements may be made using lysimeter tests on the water balance of certain climate scenarios, for example. Other possibilities are the comparison of several similar lysimeters in areas with different weathering conditions or the comparison of different soil types or different vegetation with the same weather over a longer time period. These investigations provide the foundation for many models to estimate the effect of climatic change, the spread of contamination in the soil or the success of re-conditioning measures. Typical areas of use for lysimeters are agricultural land locations, forest locations, landfills and post-mining landscapes as well as areas with existing waste deposits in need of re-cultivation. The combination of several lysimeters is recommended for statistically verified statements. Up to 4 lysimeters may be put together in autonomous lysimeter stations made of PE-HD. For larger test setups several stations can be combined or large lysimeter systems erected with concrete basements. In addition to the outdoor lysimeters, there is also the possibility to operate lysimeters in column experiments under laboratory conditions. These lysimeters are typically smaller and are used to investigate the behavior of natural soils or vegetations under special environmental conditions, as well as physical/hydrological soil properties of manually imported soils or processes of (contaminant) substance distribution, relocation and leaching. The size of the soil monoliths can vary from very small dimensions (95 cm² in area, less than 1 m deep) through to large lysimeters (2 m² in area, up to 3.5 m deep).
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