• inverse modeling;
  • soil hydraulic parameters;
  • SVAT;
  • water fluxes;
  • decoupling;
  • multiobjective calibration;
  • uncertainty;
  • soil moisture;
  • evapotranspiration;
  • remote sensing

[1] The objective function of the inverse problem in Soil-Vegetation-Atmosphere-Transfer (SVAT) models can be expressed as the aggregation of two criteria, accounting for the uncertainties of surface soil moisture (θ) and evapotranspiration (ET), retrieved from remote sensing (RS). In this context, we formulate a Weighted-Objective-Function (WOF) with respect to model effective soil hydraulic parameters, comprising of two components for θ and ET, respectively, and a dimensionless coefficient w. Given that the sensitivity of θ is increased by omitting the periods when soil moisture decoupling occurs, we also introduce within the WOF a threshold, θd, which outlines the decoupling of the surface and root-zone moisture. The optimal values of w and θd are determined by using a novel framework, weighted objective function selector algorithm (WOFSA). This performs numerical experiments, assuming known reference conditions. In particular, it solves the inverse problem for different sets of θ and ET, considering the uncertainties of retrieving them from RS, and then runs the hydrological model to obtain the simulated water fluxes and their residuals, ΔWF, against the reference responses. It estimates the two unknown variables, w and θd, by maximizing the linear correlation between the WOF and maximum ΔWF. The framework is tested using a modified Soil-Water-Atmosphere-Plant (SWAP) model, under 22 contrasting hydroclimatic scenarios. It is shown that for each texture class, w can be expressed as function of the average θ and ET-fraction, while that for all scenarios θd can be modeled as function of the average θ, average ET, and standard deviation of ET. Based on the outcomes of this study, we also provide recommendations on the most suitable time period for soil moisture measurements for capturing its dynamics and thresholds. Finally, we propose the implementation of WOFSA within multiobjective calibration, as a generalized tool for recognizing robust solutions from the Pareto front.