Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2014MT284B

Improving accessibility to satellite soil moisture measurrements: Linking SMOS data retrievals to ground measurements in Montana

Institute: Montana
Year Established: 2014 Start Date: 2014-03-01 End Date: 2016-02-28
Total Federal Funds: $4,080 Total Non-Federal Funds: $8,184

Principal Investigators: Paul Stoy

Abstract: An investigation of climate reanalysis data (Sheffield, Goteti, & Wood, 2006) revealed that the aridity index of Montana has increased over the past 50 years due to an increased atmospheric demand for water rather than a decrease in precipitation (Stoy, 2013). The successful management of water resources is critical for livelihoods in Montana, and lessons learned here may have benefits for other semiarid regions across the globe (Wallace & Batchelor, 1997). Improved access to state-of-the-art observations of the state of water resources in Montana will enable managers to make informed decisions about our increasingly scarce water supply. Of the state variables in the water cycle, plant growth is impacted most by soil moisture (Rodriguez-Iturbe & Porporato, 2004). A number of new satellite technologies for measuring soil moisture exist or are in the advanced planning stages (see Table 1 in Ford, Harris, & Quiring, 2013). Such information is critical for modern water resource planning, but a disconnection exists between satellite data products - which often require extensive post-processing - and practitioners. This project seeks to improve access to satellite soil moisture data for Montana water resource professionals by creating a webbased informatics system that makes validated satellite soil moisture data easily available. We propose to: 1) download and process data from the Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity (SMOS) satellite for the state of Montana; 2) validate satellite observations against ground-based soil moisture measurements; and 3) create a simple web-based data distribution system of statewide soil moisture observations for Montana water resource managers. Successful completion of the proposed project will improve our ability to compete for future grant proposals on improving data access from forthcoming missions including the Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) satellite.