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In situ soil moisture sensors in undisturbed soils

November 18, 2022

Soil moisture directly affects operational hydrology, food security, ecosystem services, and the climate system. However, the adoption of soil moisture data has been slow due to inconsistent data collection, poor standardization, and typically short record duration. Soil moisture, or quantitatively volumetric soil water content (SWC), is measured using buried, in situ sensors that infer SWC from an electromagnetic response. This signal can vary considerably with local site conditions such as clay content and mineralogy, soil salinity or bulk electrical conductivity, and soil temperature; each of these can have varying impacts depending on the sensor technology.,

Furthermore, poor soil contact and sensor degradation can affect the quality of these readings over time. Unlike more traditional environmental sensors, there are no accepted standards, maintenance practices, or quality controls for SWC data. As such, SWC is a challenging measurement for many environmental monitoring networks to implement. Here, we attempt to establish a community-based standard of practice for in situ SWC sensors so that future research and applications have consistent guidance on site selection, sensor installation, data interpretation, and long-term maintenance of monitoring stations.,

The videography focuses on a multi-agency consensus of best-practices and recommendations for the installation of in situ SWC sensors. This paper presents an overview of this protocol along with the various steps essential for high-quality and long-term SWC data collection. This protocol will be of use to scientists and engineers hoping to deploy a single station or an entire network.

Publication Year 2022
Title In situ soil moisture sensors in undisturbed soils
DOI 10.3791/64498
Authors Todd Caldwell, Michael H. Cosh, Steven R. Evett, Nathan Edwards, Heather Hofman, Bradley Illston, Tilden P. Meyers, Marina Skumanich, Kent Sutcliffe
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Journal of Visualized Experiments
Index ID 70238406
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Nevada Water Science Center