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Installation Protocol for In Situ Soil Moisture Data Collection & Period of Record Evaluation

NIDIS Supported Research
NIDIS-Supported Research
Main Summary

The objective of this project is to provide guidance on key aspects of soil moisture monitoring with an end goal of (1) improving the representativeness of in situ soil moisture data in drought monitoring and (2) supporting the priorities of the National Coordinated Soil Moisture Monitoring Network (NCSMMN).

The first component of the project involves developing a comprehensive ‘how-to’ installation protocol based on consensus between organizations that are active in developing standards for soil moisture monitoring (American Association of State Climatologists, USDA, NOAA, and USGS). This protocol will be published as a both stand-alone journal publication and a video tutorial in the Journal of Visual Experiments, and will be made available as a resource through the NCSMMN. The protocol will include an overview of sensor selection, pre-deployment verification, installation, field verification, metadata requirements, and/or methods for processing data records.

A second component of the project will focus on evaluating appropriate and cost-effective record extrapolation methods so that (1) data from short-term or new soil moisture monitoring stations can quickly be made useful and not require extensive record length, (2) a foundation can be developed to verify a station’s data record, and (3) assessments can be made of the station’s continued performance based on other donor stations. This work would be disseminated through a peer-reviewed journal publication.

For more information, please contact Marina Skumanich (

Research Snapshot

Research Timeline
Principal Investigator(s)
Todd Caldwell, U.S. Geological Survey
Project Funding
Focus Areas (DEWS Components)
Related Topics
What to expect from this research
  • Journal publication and video tutorial on installation protocol for soil moisture stations
  • Journal publication on methods to extrapolate short-term soil moisture data records
Key Regions
Research Scope