ESRL/PSD Seminar Series

An Overview of the NOAA Hydrometeorology Testbed Soil Moisture Observing Program

Robert (Bob) Zamora
NOAA/ESRL PSD/ Water Cycle Branch


The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Hydrometeorology Testbed (HMT) program has deployed soil moisture observing stations in the watersheds of the Russian River and North Fork (NF) of the American River in Northern California, the Babocamari River in southeastern Arizona and the Upper Colorado River in Colorado. The data gathered in these river basins are dedicated to serving the combined needs of the hydrological, meteorological, agricultural, and climatological communities for observations of soil moisture on time scales that range from minutes to decades.

The soil moisture observations are a key component of the HMT program that has been developed to accelerate the development and infusion of new observing technologies, modeling methods and recent scientific research into the National Weather Service (NWS) offices and to help focus research and development efforts on key hydrological and meteorological forecast problems. These forecast problems are not only of interest to the NWS, but they also play a crucial role in providing input to water managers who work at the national, state, and local government levels to provide water for human consumption, agricultural, and other needs.

The HMT soil moisture observing stations have been specifically designed to capture the changes in soil moisture that are associated with heavy precipitation events and runoff from snowpack during the melt season. This presentation introduces the strategies used to site the observing stations and sensors as well as the selection, testing, and calibration of the soil moisture probes. In addition, recently completed research using the soil moisture data to examine the evolution of soil moisture conditions prior to a flash flood in the Babocamari River Basin, land surface model validation, and validation of satellite soil moisture retrievals will be shown.

Wednesday, September 29

SECURITY: If you are coming from outside the NOAA campus, you must stop at the Visitor Center to obtain a vistor badge. Please allow 10 extra minutes for this procedure. If you are a foreign national coming from outside the NOAA campus, please contact Barbara Herrli (303-497-3876) for information on access requirements.

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