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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BARC) » Beltsville Agricultural Research Center » Hydrology and Remote Sensing Laboratory » Research » Research Project #430780

Research Project: Enhancing the USDA Global Crop Production Decision Support System with NASA Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) Satellite Observations

Location: Hydrology and Remote Sensing Laboratory

Project Number: 8042-13610-029-39-I
Project Type: Interagency Reimbursable Agreement

Start Date: Mar 16, 2016
End Date: Sep 30, 2019

The goal of the planned project is to enhance 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. USDA-FAS crop yield forecasts affect decisions made by farmers, businesses, and governments by predicting fundamental conditions in global commodity markets. Regional and national crop yield forecasts are made by crop analysts based on the Crop Condition Data Retrieval and Evaluation (CADRE) Data Base Management System (DBMS). Soil moisture availability is a major factor impacting these forecasts and the CADRE DBMS system currently estimates soil moisture from a simple water balance model (the Palmer model) based on precipitation and temperature datasets operationally obtained from the World Meteorological Organization and U.S. Air Force Weather Agency.

This plan will utilize new remote-sensing data sources to improve the quality of root-zone soil moisture data products available to crop production analysts at USDA-FAS. In particular, it will develop and implement a new land data assimilation system to optimally merge remote sensing information acquired from the (microwave-based) NASA Soil Moisture Active/Passive Mission (SMAP) and the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission.