Soil Temperature Variability Across a Single Meteorological Station Footprint

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Wednesday, 7 January 2015
Bradley G. Illston, Oklahoma Climatological Survey/University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK

Understanding the variability of soil temperature measurements within a meteorological station's footprint is critical to fully comprehending the challenges associate with point measurements of soil temperatures. A soil temperature test bed was installed across a 10m transect alongside of an existing Oklahoma Mesonet station with sensor depths at 5cm, 10cm, and 30cm in seven equally spaced plots. Results showed that measurements at similar depths can range nearly 5C and that seasonality impacts the range of temperatures along the transect. Additionally, one plot was outfitted with 21 soil temperature sensors every 2cm from the surface to 40cm deep to understand the temporal lag of energy transfer from daily solar heating. The results of this second experiment allow quality assurance meteorologist to better understand how erosion or deposition of soil over soil temperature plots might impact soil temperature measurement values.