PROGRAM TITLE:  	Soil Climate Information
ACTIVITY STREAMS: 	Observe/Data Mgt; Process; Assess
SCIENCE ELEMENT: 	Climate/Hydrologic Systems

 U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Soil Conservation Service

DESCRIPTION:  Remote automated data collection network for soil climate 
and associated meteorological climate information. Nine sites in Puerto Rico, 
10 in Alaska, and 21 in coterminous states utilize meteor-burst technology 
(integrated with SCS SNOTEL western water supply system) to transmit data 
to master station and central database. These sites pilot test a potential 
national network of hundreds of sites to provide near real time soil moisture 
and temperature profiles for GC modelers, early warning of soil climate 
change, and assist in monitoring mitigation practices.

Reliability of sensor technology, data handling, information relevance, utility 
for GC scientists, and feasibility for expansion of network are ongoing 
evaluations. Chemical and biological processes in wet soils are being 
monitored in 8 eight states to better understand biogeochemical processes in 
such soils.  Soil temperature/moisture maps and attribute files are being 
prepared of the United States along with global scale maps for use by GC 
scientists.  Preliminary maps are currently available and used by interested 
scientists.

STAKEHOLDERS: Primary beneficiaries are U.S. global change scientists who 
need, or want, soil and soil-related information to assist in solving their 
problems. Because US soil classification uses soil climate, these data check the 
system and permits us to expand the system in other countries as we share 
derived soil climate data from their countries. This facilitates international 
correlation of resource information. We link with major international 
organizations, national soil research organizations, and individual scientists.

SHORT TERM POLICY PAYOFFS: Provides data layers for GIS, or small scale 
maps of soil climate to merge with soil maps, vegetation, water resources, 
degradation or other resource information to better visualize where things 
occur and where policy proposals may be directed.  Longer term would be the 
development of a near real time network for the US that is readily available 
for FEMA and for ongoing operational programs of the government.