Development of a Coordinated National Soil Moisture Network: A Pilot Study

Thursday, 18 December 2014
Jessica Marie Lucido, U.S. Geological Survey Center for Integrated Data Analytics, Middleton, WI, United States, Steven M Quiring, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX, United States, James P Verdin, USGS/EROS, Boulder, CO, United States, Roger S Pulwarty, NOAA, Boulder, CO, United States, Bruce Baker, NOAA/ATDD, Oak Ridge, TN, United States, Brian Cosgrove, NOAA/NWS/OHD, Silver Spring, MD, United States, Vanessa M Escobar, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD, United States and Michael Strobel, Natural Resources Conservation Service Portland, Portland, OR, United States
Soil moisture data is critical for accurate drought prediction, flood forecasting, climate modeling, prediction of crop yields and water budgeting. However, soil moisture data are collected by many agencies and organizations in the United States using a variety of instruments and methods for varying applications. These data are often distributed and represented in disparate formats, posing significant challenges for use. In recognition of these challenges, the President’s Climate Action Plan articulated the need for a coordinated national soil moisture network.

In response to this action plan, a team led by the National Integrated Drought Information System has begun to develop a framework for this network and has instituted a proof-of-concept pilot study. This pilot is located in the south-central plains of the US, and will serve as a reference architecture for the requisite data systems and inform the design of the national network. The pilot comprises both in-situ and modeled soil moisture datasets (historical and real-time) and will serve the following use cases: operational drought monitoring, experimental land surface modeling, and operational hydrological modeling.

The pilot will be implemented using a distributed network design in order to serve dispersed data in real-time directly from data providers. Standard service protocols will be used to enable future integration with external clients. The pilot network will additionally contain a catalog of data sets and web service endpoints, which will be used to broker web service calls. A mediation and aggregation service will then intelligently request, compile, and transform the distributed datasets from their native formats into a standardized output. This mediation framework allows data to be hosted and maintained locally by the data owners while simplifying access through a single service interface. These data services will then be used to create visualizations, for example, views of the current soil moisture conditions compared to historical baselines via a map-based web application. This talk will comprise an overview of the pilot design and implementation, a discussion of strategies for integrating in-situ and modeled soil moisture data sets as well as lessons learned during the course of the pilot.