Iowa Flood Center partners with NASA on soil moisture research

Farmers are understandably fascinated by soil moisture—after all, nothing grows without water.

This summer, students and researchers at the Iowa Flood Center based at the University of Iowa are partnering with NASA on a research project that could help the scientific community better understand and monitor soil moisture.

The IFC is part of a team comparing data collected by the Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) satellite to information gathered on the ground near Ames in the South Fork watershed, a tributary of the Iowa River.

While the IFC’s network of soil-moisture–monitoring sensors provides real-time data that is useful to farmers throughout the year—particularly in the spring and fall for planting and harvesting—the team hopes to determine how vegetation and agricultural practices affect satellite-based soil-moisture measurements.

The team will conduct field experiments from Aug. 3–16 at various locations in the watershed so that the satellite data can be assessed against information being gathered by instruments on the ground.

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Publication Source: 
Iowa Now