Oklahoma Mesonet Soil Moisture Product Available for Evaluation

Published: 15 February 2017
1998 Volumetric Water Content for the station BUTL in the Oklahoma Mesonet for comparison to the Illston 2008 paper. While the relative temporal behavior is replicated, the absolute volumetric water content with the new coefficients derived by the Oklahoma Mesonet (Scott, 2013) is significantly lower than before. For example it is 35% at the 5 cm level for wet conditions and more than 60% in dry conditions.

Researchers supported by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Atmospheric System Research (ASR) program are interested in studying land-atmosphere interactions at the meso-scale level around the ARM Southern Great Plains (SGP) atmospheric observatory. In order to help address these research needs, the ARM External Data Center (XDC) created a soil moisture value-added product (VAP) using the current 30-minute-averaged product from the Oklahoma Mesonet (OKM). Soil moisture is a key parameter for understanding fluxes of moisture and energy between the land and atmosphere.

The Oklahoma Mesonet is network of monitoring stations developed as a joint project between Oklahoma State University and the University of Oklahoma. Since its creation in the early 1990’s, the Oklahoma Mesonet has created and maintained over 100 surface mesonet stations. The dense surface network of OKM provides a good representation of land surface/subsurface conditions over the region. However, the OKM product alone does not provide the information necessary to calculate soil moisture across the network.

Recently, a soil hydraulic parameter database (Meso-Soil Database) with extensive in situ validation was developed and published. The XDC has created a soil moisture VAP from the current 30-minute-averaged product from the OKM network of monitoring stations, using parameters from the Meso-Soil Database and the equations developed by Oklahoma Mesonet scientists (see Illston, 2008).

Oklahoma Mesonet Soil Moisture evaluation data are now available from October 2011 to July 2016. More information on the VAP is available in the README file which accompanies the data files in the ARM evaluation area.

During this evaluation period, please send any comments and suggestions related to the product to Laurie Gregory. Feedback will assist in improving the product prior to its full release. To access the data set, please browse the ARM Data Archive. (Go here to create an account to download the data.)

Reference: Illston, R, J Basara, D Fisher, R Elliott, C Fiebrich, K Crawford, K Humes, and E Hunt. 2008. “Mesoscale monitoring of soil moisture across a statewide network.” Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology 25: 167-182, doi:10.1175/2007JTECHA993.1.

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The ARM Climate Research Facility is a national scientific user facility funded through the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science. The ARM Facility is operated by nine Department of Energy national laboratories.