Using NASA UAVSAR Datasets to Link Soil Moisture to Crop Conditions

Friday, 18 December 2015
Poster Hall (Moscone South)
Aaron Walter Darwin Davitt, CUNY Graduate Center, New York, NY, United States, Kyle C McDonald, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA, United States; Environmental Crossroads Initiative, City University of New York, New York, NY, United States, Marzieh Azarderakhsh, Fairleigh Dickinson University, Teaneck, NJ, United States; City College of New York, New York, NY, United States and Jonathan Winter, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH, United States
California and The Central Valley are experiencing one of that region’s worst, persistent droughts, which represents the continuation of a prolonged drought that started in the early 2000’s. Due to the continued drought, many agricultural regions in The Central Valley have been experiencing water shortages, negatively impacting agricultural production and the socio-economics of the region. Due to these impacts, there has been an increased incentive to find new ways to conserve water for use in irrigation. Recent advances in remote sensing techniques provide the ability for end users to better understand field conditions so they may make more informed decisions on irrigation timing and amounts. However, a good understanding of soil moisture and its role in crop health and yield is lacking to support informed water management decisions. Though known to be important, a robust understanding of the role of the spatio-temporal patterns in soil moisture linked to crop health is lacking. Remote sensing platforms such as NASA’s Uninhabited Aerial Vehicle Synthetic Aperture Radar (UAVSAR) provide the capacity to obtain within-field measurements to estimate within-field and field-to-field variability in soil moisture. UAVSAR radar images acquired from 2010 to 2014 for Yolo County, California are being examined to determine the suitability of high resolution (field scale) multi-temporal L-band radar backscatter imagery for soil moisture assessment and crop conditions through the growing season. By using such data and linking to in-situ meteorology measurements, modeling (MIMICS), and other remote sensing derived datasets (Sentinel, Landsat, MODIS, and TOPS-SIMS), an integrated monitoring system can potentially support the assessment of agricultural field conditions. This allows growers to optimize the use of limited water supplies through informed water management practices, potentially improving crop conditions and yield in a water stressed region.