E3S Web Conf.
Volume 195, 20204th European Conference on Unsaturated Soils (E-UNSAT 2020)
|Number of page(s)||6|
|Section||Field Studies and Engineering Applications|
|Published online||16 October 2020|
Development of a Thornthwaite Moisture Index Map for Trinidad and Tobago
University of the West Indies, Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, St. Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago
* Corresponding author: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Thornthwaite Moisture Index (TMI) has been traditionally used as a climatic index parameter to estimate annual moisture status of soils (deficit/surplus), primarily in the agricultural domain. Engineers have also adopted the TMI in efforts to estimate volume change potential in expansive clays, where seasonal (temporal) moisture changes can be correlated to soil matric suction and ultimately volume change via appropriate mechanistic models. In Trinidad and Tobago, approximately 60 % of the islands are covered with over-consolidated clays of medium to high plasticity. When combined with extreme variations in moisture status, these plastic clays have exhibited high volume change potential. This paper investigates the spatial distribution of this climatic index for Trinidad and Tobago, intending to develop an index map for the islands. Within the post-colonial era in Trinidad and Tobago (1962 ~ present), the availability of consistent climatic data is limited to just two recording stations within the islands. The Meteorological Services of Trinidad and Tobago (MET) manages both stations: Piarco, Trinidad and Crown Point, Tobago, where consistent data exists for 36 years (1981 ~ 2018). These two points and their limited data timeframe cannot support the development of a spatial TMI map for the islands. This research addresses this shortcoming by collecting and analysing historical climatic data collected at 28 stations over Trinidad and Tobago over the British Colonial era (1931 ~ 1964). These data are recorded in publications of the Land Capability Surveys of The Imperial College of Tropical Agriculture (ICTA). Data sets of monthly rainfall data from the historical and at present for the Piarco location showed strong statistical coherence, examined through a t-test. Having justified the historical data, TMI values are calculated at all locations. Using the calculated TMI values, a map was developed using the GIS software, Surfer, and interpolation method of Kriging. In Trinidad, the map indicates high TMI at the north-eastern side of the island, with a significant decrease going into the south-western side. Low TMI values are observed in the most western side of Trinidad indicating substantially long dry season period, during which the underlying expansive clay can experience significant shrinkage.
© The Authors, published by EDP Sciences 2020
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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