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Working toward a National Coordinated Soil Moisture Monitoring Network: vision, progress, and future directions

C. Bruce BakerRetired, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Durham, NC

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Michael CoshU.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Hydrology and Remote Sensing Lab, Beltsville, MD

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John BoltenNational Aeronautics and Space Administration, Beltsville, MD

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Mark BrusbergU.S. Department of Agriculture, Washington, DC

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Todd CaldwellU.S. Geological Survey, Nevada Water Science Center, Carson City, NV

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Stephanie ConnollyUSDA Forest Service, Northern Research Station, Madison, WI

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Iliyana DobrevaOhio State University, Columbus, OH

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Nathan EdwardsSouth Dakota State University, Aberdeen, SD

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Peter E. GobleColorado State University, Fort Collins, CO

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Tyson E. OchsnerOklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK

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Steven M. QuiringOhio State University, Columbus, OH

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Michael RobothamU.S. Department of Agriculture, Natural Resource Conservation Service, Washington, DC

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Marina SkumanichNational Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Integrated Drought Information System, Boulder, CO
University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO

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Mark SvobodaNational Drought Mitigation Center, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, NE

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W. Alex WhiteU.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Hydrology and Remote Sensing Lab, Beltsville, MD

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Molly WoloszynNational Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Integrated Drought Information System, Boulder, CO
Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO

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Abstract

Soil moisture is a critical land surface variable, impacting the water, energy, and carbon cycles. While in situ soil moisture monitoring networks are still developing, there is no cohesive strategy or framework to coordinate, integrate, or disseminate these diverse data sources in a synergistic way that can improve our ability to understand climate variability at the national, state, and local levels. Thus, a national strategy is needed to guide network deployment, sustainable network operation, data integration and dissemination, and user-focused product development.

The National Coordinated Soil Moisture Monitoring Network (NCSMMN) is a federally-led, multi-institution effort that aims to address these needs by capitalizing on existing wide-ranging soil moisture monitoring activities, increasing the utility of observational data, and supporting their strategic application to the full range of decision making needs.

The goals of the NCSMMN are to:

  • Establish a national “network of networks” that effectively demonstrates data integration and operational coordination of diverse in situ networks;

  • Build a community of practice around soil moisture measurement, interpretation, and application - a “network of people” that links data providers, researchers, and the public;

  • Support research and development (R&D) on techniques to merge in situ soil moisture data with remotely-sensed and modeled hydrologic data to create user-friendly soil moisture maps and associated tools.

The overarching mission of the NCSMMN is to provide coordinated high-quality, nationwide soil moisture information for the public good by supporting applications like drought and flood monitoring, water resource management, agricultural and forestry planning, and fire danger ratings.

Corresponding author: Michael Cosh, Michael.Cosh@usda.gov

Abstract

Soil moisture is a critical land surface variable, impacting the water, energy, and carbon cycles. While in situ soil moisture monitoring networks are still developing, there is no cohesive strategy or framework to coordinate, integrate, or disseminate these diverse data sources in a synergistic way that can improve our ability to understand climate variability at the national, state, and local levels. Thus, a national strategy is needed to guide network deployment, sustainable network operation, data integration and dissemination, and user-focused product development.

The National Coordinated Soil Moisture Monitoring Network (NCSMMN) is a federally-led, multi-institution effort that aims to address these needs by capitalizing on existing wide-ranging soil moisture monitoring activities, increasing the utility of observational data, and supporting their strategic application to the full range of decision making needs.

The goals of the NCSMMN are to:

  • Establish a national “network of networks” that effectively demonstrates data integration and operational coordination of diverse in situ networks;

  • Build a community of practice around soil moisture measurement, interpretation, and application - a “network of people” that links data providers, researchers, and the public;

  • Support research and development (R&D) on techniques to merge in situ soil moisture data with remotely-sensed and modeled hydrologic data to create user-friendly soil moisture maps and associated tools.

The overarching mission of the NCSMMN is to provide coordinated high-quality, nationwide soil moisture information for the public good by supporting applications like drought and flood monitoring, water resource management, agricultural and forestry planning, and fire danger ratings.

Corresponding author: Michael Cosh, Michael.Cosh@usda.gov
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