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Research Project: Management of Degraded Waters for Irrigation: Integrated Field-scale Systems using Multi-sensor Technology

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Title: Assessing climate change impacts on soil salinity development with proximal and satellite sensors

item Corwin, Dennis
item SCUDERIO, ELIA - University Of California

Submitted to: Fast Times: News for the Near Surface Geophysical Sciences
Publication Type: Trade Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/20/2017
Publication Date: 12/31/2017
Citation: Corwin, D.L., Scuderio, E. 2017. Assessing climate change impacts on soil salinity development with proximal and satellite sensors. Fast Times: News for the Near Surface Geophysical Sciences. 22(4):36-41.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Changes in climate patterns have dramatically influenced some agricultural areas. Examples include the historic 5-year drought in California’s San Joaquin Valley (SJV) and the 20-year above average annual rainfall in the Red River Valley (RRV) of the Midwestern USA. Climate change may have impacted soil salinity levels in the root zone of these agricultural areas. Inventorying and monitoring climate change impacts on salinity are crucial to evaluate the extent of the problem, to recognize trends, and to formulate irrigation and crop management strategies that will maintain the agricultural productivity of these areas. Over the past 3 decades, Corwin and colleagues at the U.S. Salinity Laboratory have developed proximal sensor (i.e., electrical resistivity and electromagnetic induction) and remote imagery (i.e., MODIS and Landsat 7) methodologies for assessing soil salinity at multiple scales: field (0.5 ha to 3 km2), landscape (3 to 10 km2), and regional (10 to 106 km2) scales. The objective of this news article is to evaluate the impact climate change has on selected agricultural areas experiencing weather pattern changes through the use of proximal and satellite sensors to assess salinity development and its implications on agricultural sustainability. Case studies for the SJV and RRV are presented to demonstrate the utility of these approaches in assessing soil salinity changes due to changes in weather patterns. Results indicate that changes in weather patterns for the SJV and RRV have increased root-zone soil salinity, particularly in areas with shallow water tables.