Non-invasive surface nuclear magnetic resonance (SNMR) measurements can yield direct and quantitative estimates of water content in the near surface (Hertrich 2008). Fundamental to the inversion and analysis of SNMR data is a basic assumption that the measured signal exhibits an exponential decay. It can be shown, however, that in the presence of an inhomogeneous magnetic field, the signal decay may be non-exponential in form. We show that in such cases, erroneous assumptions about the decay shape could lead to significant errors in estimated water content. Here, we present numerical experiments to illustrate how environmental conditions will influence the shape of the SNMR signal and the resulting accuracy of water content estimates.

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