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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.