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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BARC) » Beltsville Agricultural Research Center » Hydrology and Remote Sensing Laboratory » Research » Research Project #431954

Research Project: Climate Change Baseline Assessment Using Merged, Root-Zone Soil Moisture Product (Soil MERGE, SMERGE)

Location: Hydrology and Remote Sensing Laboratory

Project Number: 8042-13610-029-74-I
Project Type: Interagency Reimbursable Agreement

Start Date: Jun 1, 2016
End Date: Sep 30, 2020

ARS seek to develop a set of root zone soil moisture (RZSM)-based indicators that will allow for the timely reporting and wide dissemination of climatic trends relevant to the agricultural sector. A fundamental limiting factor that constrains agricultural productivity is RZSM. With a plethora of remote sensing platforms now available the time has come for the development of more direct measures of soil moisture. ARS proposes to develop a new remotely sensed RZSM product from which a suite of indicators will be derived that can provide a robust baseline to facilitate analysis of future climate change.

This project will provide a robust platform for evaluating long-term climate trends in root-zone soil moisture (RZSM). The research strategy includes six project activities that will be executed: 1. Develop a merged data set representing a variety of surface soil moisture retrievals collected during the last three decades (Year 1 to 3). 2. Use the merged surface soil moisture data to develop a RZSM product based on data assimilation techniques (Year 1). 3. Validation of the initial version of the RZSM project within a comprehensive framework by involving examination at the in situ, regional, and global scales (Years 2-3). 4. Develop SMERGE based indicators for long-term trend analysis (Years 2-3). 5. Share SMERGE and its derived products through a web portal (Year 3). 6. Conduct outreach/workshops via the USDA Northern Plains Regional Climate Hub to support decision-making by diverse stakeholders within the agricultural sector (Years 2-3).