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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Enhancing the USDA Global Crop Production Decision Support System with Nasa Land Information System and Water Cycle Satellite Observations

Location: Hydrology and Remote Sensing Laboratory

2012 Annual Report


1a.Objectives (from AD-416):
Enhance USDA FAS crop yield forecasts via the use of remote sensing and data assimilation technologies.


1b.Approach (from AD-416):
Apply an Ensemble Kalman filter to the assimilation of AMSR-E soil moisture retrievals into the USDA FAS land surface model. Development contingency plans for the discontinuity of AMSR-E data and apply the NASA LIS modeling system.


3.Progress Report:

This technical agreement aims at enhancing the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) global crop assessment decision support system via the integration of NASA soil moisture data products and adoption of NASA land surface modeling and data assimilation tools.

This objective is addressed through five separate tasks:

Task 1: Maintain the consistent operational delivery of soil moisture products in near real-time (defined here as within 5 days) to USDA FAS.

Task 2: Develop a contingency capacity for the generation and (near real-time) delivery of surface soil moisture retrieval products from alternative satellites data sources.

Task 3: Prototype the existing USDA FAS global soil moisture modeling system using the NASA Land Information System (LIS) modeling framework.

Task 4: Within NASA LIS develop a prototype data assimilation system to fully integrate future Soil Moisture Active/Passive (SMAP) soil moisture retrievals into the USDA FAS system.

Task 5: Benchmarking of modification to decision support made in response to product.

Operational delivery of soil moisture products to USDA FAS (addressing Task #1 above) was interrupted by the October 2011 failure of the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer-Earth Observing System (AMSR-E) sensor aboard the NASA Aqua satellite. Following this failure, the project fell back on the contingency plan to use soil moisture retrievals acquired from the European Space Agency (ESA) Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity (SMOS) mission. In addition, in early 2012, the Air Force Weather Office (AFWA) modified the format of the operational meteorology data we use to force our system. Nevertheless, we recently completed work on a new-SMOS-based (and updated AFWA-compliant) data assimilation system and have re-started operational product delivery to USDA FAS. As a whole, the project remains on schedule. Tasks 1 and 2 are essentially complete and Tasks 3 and 4 are currently on schedule (to be completed in FY13). Substantial progress has been made on Task 5 which should allow the project to clearly benchmark added utility for USDA FAS operational forecasting by the end of Year 4.


Last Modified: 10/22/2014
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