PROGRAM TITLE: Soil Climate Information ACTIVITY STREAMS: Observe/Data Mgt; Process; Assess SCIENCE ELEMENT:
Climate/Hydrologic Systems U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Soil Conservation ServiceDESCRIPTION: 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.