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Soil Moisture

According to NASA’s Earth Science Office, soil moisture means different things in different disciplines. A farmer’s concept of soil moisture is different from that of a water resource manager or a weather forecaster. Generally, however, soil moisture is the water that is held in the spaces between soil particles. Surface soil moisture is the water that is in the upper 10 cm of soil, whereas root zone soil moisture is the water that is available to plants, which is generally considered to be in the upper 200 cm of soil.
For more information, see the 2013 report, “Developing a Coordinated National Soil Moisture Network” and the 2016 report, “Progress made, future directions.

NIDIS and Soil Moisture

Want to become a part of the National Soil Moisture Network Community?
The National Soil Moisture Network Strategy is being developed with the support and engagement of a wide range individuals:  federal agency staff, soil scientists & other researchers, data providers, user groups, and other interested parties.  Do you want to add your voice and ideas to the effort?  Join our Listserv by entering your name and email here.

Front cover of the NIDIS & Soil Moisture document

Soil moisture is a vital part of the water budget, yet an accurate depiction of this variable has been a serious challenge over the past several decades. In response to this need, NIDIS and USDA are co-leading the development of a strategy for nation-wide monitoring of soil moisture. The goals of the National Soil Moisture Network (NSMN) are to establish a national network that integrates multiple soil moisture data sources across federal and state in-situ monitoring networks, satellite remote sensing missions, and numerous modeling capabilities.

Read more about NIDIS and Soil Moisture



Soil Moisture Data and Tools

Weekly measurement of short-term needs vs. available water (dry to wet).
(Click for actual conditions)
(Click for actual conditions daily and monthly, as well as seasonal anomalies)
Current percentiles for soil moisture, snow-water equivalents (SWE) and other variables with respect to the climatological period. (Click for actual conditions)
Interactive U.S. map of snow conditions, precipitation, streamflow and reservoir storage. (Click for actual conditions)
Maps show most recent daily, monthly and 12-month calculated soil moisture, anomalies and percentiles. (Click for actual conditions)
Anomalies and percentiles of soil moisture for different timescales. (Click for actual conditions)
Multiple maps show soil moisture totals, anomalies, change and more. (Click for actual conditions)
Water storage observations derived from satellite data, integrated with other observations. (Click for actual conditions)
Outlooks for the next two weeks, month, and season. (Click for actual conditions)
Visualize soil moisture, drought and climate information through interactive mapping of information from NIDIS partners.
Visualize and access national soil moisture data derived from multiple data sources. A collaborative effort between USGS, NOAA, USDA, and NIDIS.