Fusion of in-situ soil moisture and remotely sensed data.

Project ID: 19136
Principal Investigator: David Gundlach
Research Topic: Water Operation Models and Decision Support Systems
Funded Fiscal Years: 2019
Keywords: None

Research Question

Does soil moisture variability significantly affect multi-spectral and lidar signal parameters and can any effect(s) be integrated into analyses of imagery which overlaps, and extends beyond, the location of monitoring instruments? Similarly, can local soil moisture data be used to enhance the spatial resolution and accuracy of data products derived from satellite platforms such as those produced by NASA's Soil Moisture Active/Passive (SMAP) mission?

The Lower Colorado Region Multi-Species Conservation Program (MSCP) has developed a soil moisture monitoring network as part of its tasking to create and maintain habitat for covered species in designated conservation areas. Soil moisture loggers provide continuous and accurate information but the number of instruments is limited due to cost and logistics. The proposed research will determine those Reclamation and external resources that are best suited to downscale and integrate data sources having large spatial extent/low spatial and /or temporal resolution with small extent, discrete data points. Resources to be investigated include expertise, data sources, methodologies, and software, both commercial and open-source. A pilot test of methodology, software, and data will be conducted once the optimal resources have been identified and evaluated. The overall goal is to provide a foundation and framework from which a soil moisture surface and/or predictive model for the areas of interest can be created as a next step.

Need and Benefit

Reclamation employs soil moisture information to validate and monitor such environmental and operational
parameters as water budgets, soil condition, and habitat condition as it pertains to management decisions regarding
endangered species, invasive plants, and fire regime. Soil moisture is an important component of habitat condition
and suitability for species covered by the Lower Colorado Region MSCP. Soil moisture is an input parameter used by
the AgriMet network to monitor plant evapotranspiration. The Great Plains and Pacific NW regions use AgriMet to
manage irrigation and provide better understanding of regional weather. In most cases, the useful soil moisture data is
limited to the general vicinity of the collection locations. If the proposed research points the way to accurate, detailed,
and frequently updated soil moisture information over large areas, then all activities using such data will be enhanced.
Producing soil moisture data products that are coherent at different scales will allow for analyses to be conducted at
different scales as well. To cover a similar spatial extent with in-situ monitoring devices would be prohibitively
expensive and overstress available resources.

Contributing Partners

Contact the Principal Investigator for information about partners.

Research Products

Bureau of Reclamation Review

The following documents were reviewed by experts in fields relating to this project's study and findings. The results were determined to be achieved using valid means.

Fusion of In-situ Soil Moisture and Remotely Sensed Data. (final, PDF, 1.0MB)
By David Gundlach
Research Product completed on September 30, 2019

This research product summarizes the research results and potential application to Reclamation's mission.

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Last Updated: 6/22/20