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Southeastern U.S. Soil Moisture Network Build-out and Applications Development

NIDIS Supported Research
NIDIS-Supported Research
Main Summary

Soil moisture has been recognized as a key variable for assessing the onset and magnitude of both drought and flooding hydro-extremes, but accurately measuring it over a large spatial extent and systematically reporting it have proven to be challenging. In response to this need and with support from NIDIS, the NOAA Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research's Weather Program Office funded a new project to enhance the soil moisture monitoring network in Alabama, Georgia, and Florida and to improve the application of soil moisture data to decision making in the region.

The expansion of this network in the Southeast is a critical activity in the NIDIS Southeast Drought Early Warning System (DEWS), and will be included in the NIDIS-led National Coordinated Soil Moisture Monitoring Network (NCSMMN). The NCSMMN is a cross-agency, national initiative to build a shared platform for soil moisture data and decision support tools. This project supports the missions of NIDIS, the National Cooperative Observer Program, the NOAA Water Initiative, and the Weather Research and Forecasting Innovation Act.

 For more information, please contact Meredith Muth (

Research Snapshot

Research Timeline
October 2020 - September 2022
Principal Investigator(s)
John Christy, The University of Alabama in Huntsville; George Vellidis, University of Georgia; William Lusher, University of Florida
Project Funding
NOAA Weather Program Office Observations Program
Related Topics
What to expect from this research
  • Expansion of the in situ soil moisture monitoring network across the 3-state region: Alabama, Florida, and Georgia
  • Development of a new SmartIrrigation Forages App to support livestock producers
  • Development of a real-time alert system for both hydro-extremes: flash drought and saturated soil/flooding, using the SmartIrrigation Apps (corn, cotton, soybean, forages)
  • Improvements to the ALEXI model-derived Evaporative Stress Index and root zone soil moisture information using in situ data from the expanded regional network
  • Documentation of low-cost soil moisture sensor performance based on test-bed activities and validation against research-grade sensors
  • Data and research sharing with the National Coordinated Soil Moisture Monitoring Network
Related Documents
Key Regions
Research Scope
DEWS Region(s)