Development of a Sensor for Measuring In Situ Soil Moisture in Continuous Spatial Profile

Monday, 15 December 2014
Stephen Farrington1, Neal E Van Wyck1 and Kenneth Hurst Williams2, (1)Transcend Engineering, Bethel, VT, United States, (2)Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, CA, United States
Land-atmosphere interactions are important sources of seasonal climate predictability and soil moisture is a key parameter that influences land-atmosphere interactions in the climate system. Models of land-atmosphere interaction require reliable input of near surface soil moisture conditions to make accurate predictions, yet a widespread deficit persist in monitoring capability with respect to the near surface soil moisture reservoir on land.

A novel sensor technology based on Time Domain Reflectometry as been demonstrated that has the potential to help advance understanding of land-atmosphere interactions by its ability to acquire continuous profiles of spatially heterogeneous near surface soil moisture over distances up to several meters. The Profile Resolving In-situ Soil Moisture Sensor (PRISMS) technology was tested to establish feasibility and performance both in laboratory conditions and in situ at a U.S. Department of Energy Integrated Field Research Challenge Site are presented. Results include comparison to reference methods.