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SWRC Bulletin (Summer 2007)
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The SWRC Bulletin

Sound Science for Water Decisions

Summer 2007

Latest Science Results (not yet published)

(click on title for more information)


The role of  precipitation uncertainty for soil property estimation using soil moisture retrievals in a semi-arid environment


Preface:  Fifty Years of Research and Data Collection U.S.D.A. Walnut Gulch Experimental Watershed


Sediment yields from unit-source semi-arid watershed at Walnut Gulch


Reduction of ecosystem energy following precipitation


Quantifying the ecohydrologic significance of hydraulic redistribution in a semiarid savanna


A prototype SDSS for TMDL development in rangeland watersheds


Integrated water management in Mexico:  Building a framework for research


Flow prediction in an arid catchment in Oman

Highlight from Recently Published Research
Click here to read about the impact of recent extreme Arizona storms.  Download this and other "Recently Published Research" below.

Heavy rainfall on July 27-31, 2006, led to record flooding and triggered an unprecedented number of debris flows in the Santa Catalina Mountains north of Tucson, Arizona. The U.S. Geological Survey documented record floods along four watercourses in the Tucson basin, and at least 250 hillslope failures spawned debris flows.  At least 18 of the debris flows destroyed infrastructure in the heavily used Sabino Canyon Recreation Area, and others
reached the edge of the Tucson metropolitan area.  The KINEROS
rainfall-runoff-erosion model, developed by ARS, was calibrated to the measured outflow from Sabino Canyon on July 31 (see above).  The most critical model parameters were found to be the average soil depth in the watershed and the initial soil moisture content.  Results of the calibration indicated that the average soil depth is only about 30 cm and that this thin mantle of soil had become completely saturated by the end of the first of two thunderstorms on that day.

Papers Published This Year:

(click on title to download a reprint)


Bryant, R., Moran, M.S., Thoma, D., Holifield Collins, C.D., Skirvin, S.M., Rahman, M., Slocum, K., Starks, P.J., Bosch, D.D., Gonzalez-Dugo, M.P. 2007. Measuring surface roughness to parameterize radar backscatter models for retrieval of surface soil moisture.IEEE Geosci. and Rem. Sens. Letters 4(1): 137-141.


Rahman, M.M., Moran, M.S., Thoma, D., Bryant, R., Sano, E.E., Holifield Collins, C.D., Skirvin, S.M., Kerschner, C., Orr, B. 2007. A derivation of roughness correlation length for parameterizing radar backscatter models.International J. of Remote Sensing. 1-18.


Rhoton, F.E., Emmerich, W.E., Goodrich, D.C., Miller, S.N., McChesney, D.S. 2007. An aggregation/erodibility index for soils in a semiarid watershed, Southeastern Arizona.Soil Science of America Journal 71:987-982.


Magirl, C.S., Webb, R.H., Schaffner, M., Lyon, S.W., Griffiths, P.G., Shoemaker, C., Unkrich, C.L., Yatheendradas, S., Troch, P.A., Pytlak, E., Goodrich, D.C., Desilets, S.L.E., Youberg, A., Pearthree, P.A. 2007. Impact of Recent Extreme Arizona Storms.EOS 88(17): 191-193.


Huxman, T.E., Scott, R.L. 2007. Climate change, vegetation dynamics, and the landscape water balance.Southwest Hydrology 6:28-30.


Farid, A., Goodrich, D.C., Bryant, R., Sorooshian, S. 2007. Using Airborne Lidar to Predict Leaf Area Index in Cottonwood Trees and Refine Riparian Water Use Estimates.J. of Arid Environments.


Cate, A., Semmens, D., Burns, I.S., Goodrich, D.C., Kepner, W.G. 2007. AGWA Design Documentation: Migrating to ARCGIS and the Internet.EPA/600/R-05/056 and ARS/181027 Technical Reports, 77 p.


Tischler, M., Garcia, M., Petrs-Lidard, C., Moran, M.S., Miller, S., Thoma, D., Kumar, S., Geiger, J. 2007. A GIS framework for surface-layer soil moisture estimation combining satellite radar measurements and land surface modeling with soil physical property estimation.Environmental Modeling & Software 22:891-898.


Perez-Quezada, J.F., Saliendra, N.Z., Emmerich, W.E., Laca, E.A. 2007. Evaluation of statistical protocols for quality control of ecosystem CO2 fluxes.J. of the Royal Statistical Society, Series A. 170(Part 1): 213-230.

Our full publication list is available at . 


Future Science Events:

Click here for information about the 4th Research in Semiarid Environments (RISE) Symposium, the 3rd Interagency Conference on Research in the Watersheds (ICRW), the 15thInternational Soil Conservation Organization (ISCO) conference on Soil and Water Conservation, Climate Change and Environmental Sensitivity, and the latest SWRC/NRCS collaboration


Rainfall Report:

WGEW and SRER data can be downloaded from the web site at   


Geographic locations of the three precipitation records can be found at /ARSUserFiles/20221000/images/sw_az3.jpg



Dave Goodrich received the ASCE's Arid Lands Hydraulic Engineering Award.  Click here for more information about Dave and other SWRC scientists who have received this prestigious award.Click here for details.


Staff News:
Click here for news from SWRC Scientists about new hires, recent retirements and other staff events.



SWRC Bulletin:

Contact the SWRC Research Leader, Dr. Mark Nearing at 670-6380 x152 or  Mailing address is USDA ARS SWRC, 2000 E. Allen Rd., Tucson, AZ85719 and web address is .  The SWRC Bulletin is on-line at  /News/News.htm?modecode=53-42-45-00. 


SWRC Mission:

To develop knowledge and technology to conserve water and soil in semi-arid lands.