4.5 Monitoring Drought with a National Soil Monitoring Network

Tuesday, 12 January 2016: 9:30 AM
Room 245 ( New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center)
Jesse Eugene Bell, CICS/North Carolina State University, Asheville, NC

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)'s United States Climate Reference Network (USCRN) deployed soil moisture sensors to monitor the temporal and spatial variability of soil moisture at 114 locations across the contiguous United States. These new soil observations can enhance our understanding of changing soil conditions for better drought monitoring. The first four years after full deployment of the network, multiple large droughts occurred across the United States and provided an opportunity to evaluate the utility of this network for drought monitoring. The soil moisture signal of the 2012 drought in the continental United States was detected nationally at all observational depths (5, 10, 20, 50, and 100 cm) with an overall 11.07% decrease from the average of the 2011-2013 summers. The evolution of the California drought will also be evaluated to show the change over time and the unique seasonal characteristics of soil moisture for that region. As the USCRN record for soil moisture is fairly short, there will also demonstrate a modeling technique that is used to extend the historical record. This presentation will demonstrate the utility of using USCRN for monitoring national soil moisture conditions, assessing droughts, and tracking climate change over time.
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