92nd American Meteorological Society Annual Meeting (January 22-26, 2012)

Tuesday, 24 January 2012: 5:00 PM
US Climate Reference Network Soil Moisture/Temperature Monitoring
Room 355 (New Orleans Convention Center )
Jesse Eugene Bell, Cooperative Institute for Climate and Satellites/North Caroline State University, Asheville, NC; and M. Palecki
Manuscript (1.2 MB)

During summer 2011, installation of probes to observe soil moisture and temperature was completed at 114 US Climate Reference Network (USCRN) stations across the conterminous states. At each site, three sets of probes were placed in three directions about three meters from the instrument tower base. At most sites, the probes were installed at depths of 5, 10, 20, 50, and 100 cm; sites with shallow soils were installed at the 5 and 10 cm depths only. The continuity of the record is enhanced by triplicate observations at each depth, allowing valid observations to continue even if an instrument fails underground. The redundancy of measurements at each depth also creates a unique opportunity to understand the spatial representativeness of individual soil probe measurements, and the nature of local soil moisture/temperature variance. This will be especially important when validating remotely sensed or modeled soil moisture/temperature.

The existing high quality climate observations and the new soil moisture/temperature measurements from the USCRN stations can be input into analytic and modeling frameworks for many applications. The development of improved systems and output for monitoring drought in the US is foremost among these outcomes. Point-based ecosystem models using USCRN observations can be calibrated with current soil moisture observations, and then run for earlier time periods to develop estimated soil moisture climatologies for each USCRN location. Work to use soil temperatures to better define growing seasons is also in progress. Some of these early developments in value-added products derived from USCRN soil moisture/temperature will be demonstrated and discussed.

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