Local Contributors and Predictability of Flash Drought at the Marena Oklahoma In Situ Sensor Testbed (MOISST) During 2012

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Thursday, 8 January 2015
Jeffrey B. Basara, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK; and J. Otkin, H. R. Mahan, M. C. Anderson, C. Hain, P. Wagle, and X. Xiao

The Marena Oklahoma In Situ Sensor Testbed (MOISST) site was installed in May 2010 as part of the calibration and validation program for the NASA Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) mission. The site includes more than 200 soil, vegetation, and atmospheric sensors installed over an approximately 64 hectare pasture in Central Oklahoma with 4 main stations and multiple sensors installed in profiles. Additional sensors located at the site include a COsmic-ray Soil Moisture Observing System, global position system reflectometers, a passive distributed temperature system, an eddy correlation flux tower, and a phenocam. During 2012, flash drought conditions occurred at the MOISST location as conditions transitioned from no drought in late April to D4 (exceptional drought) in mid August. The array of instruments captured the dramatic transition of land-surface conditions at the MOISST site, in particular during a period spanning approximately six weeks in July and August in whereby drought conditions changed from abnormally dry to exceptional drought and ecosystem collapsed occurred. Results for the analyses demonstrated that both soil moisture and vegetation dynamics were critical components to flash drought development. Further, when the Evaporative Stress Index (ESI) was applied to the MOISST site during 2012, the results demonstrated that the predictability of drought conditions were increased to nearly six weeks prior to flash drought development that began in July.