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SMAP In Situ Sensor Testbed
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Soil Moisture Active Passive
Marena Oklhaoma In Situ Sensor Testbed

In late 2009 at a SMAP calibration and validation meeting, it was proposed that an in situ sensor testbed for the current and emerging soil moisture technologies be developed.   In May of 2010, this testbed was funded and installed near Marena, Oklahomain coordination with the NASA Terrestrial Hydrology Program, USDA-ARS, and Oklahoma State University (OSU).   This testbed includes four study sites of a 0.4 km 2area over in a rangeland pasture on the OSU Rangeland Research Station.  Four intensive in situ stations are installed through the domain with a variety of sensors included in the study which are currently in use by national and international soil moisture networks or are new and emerging technologies, such as the COSMOS soil moisture program and the GPS Reflectometry Project.   The below figure shows an example of one the installation pits with some of the sensors installed already.   Soil moisture profiles are measured to 1 meter depth (or baserock) with each sensor system.   

This project was funded initially for equipment purchase and funding was provided for one graduate student to maintain and study the testbed with regards to gravimetric and vegetation sampling for two years.   There is a considerable amount of work to still address regarding the testbed, including generation of soil moisture estimates from the GPS and COSMOS systems and calibration comparisons of the different sensors.   Evaluation of the sites will begin in early 2011 and the continued operation of the testbed will be carried through the launch of SMAP and at least until 2016.   This will result in one of the largest and longest intercomparison studies ever conducted with regards to soil moisture instrumentation and its impact on the future of satellite estimation of soil moisture will be significant and long-lasting.

Experiment Plan