Monday, September 1, 2014

NGEE Arctic Scientist Links Plot Scale and Satellite Scale Measurements of Soil Moisture…

Much of what the NGEE Arctic team does is directed at gaining fundamental knowledge of processes that control the water, energy, and carbon cycles in tundra ecosystems. This means that members of the team are in the field and laboratory gathering data and sharing that information with our modeling colleagues. We also have an interest in linking our field studies to larger scale information coming from satellites in what if often referred to as scaling. That is, how do small-scale measurements made in the field relate to larger scale properties and processes estimated from remote sensing platforms?

Go Iwahana, a postdoctoral researcher at the UAF International Arctic Research Center (IARC) is especially interested in this topic and has been working this week to install a network of soil moisture probes across the Barrow Environmental Observatory (BEO). These probes are commercially available and, once connected to a small data logger, can record information on soil temperature and moisture for months at a time. Go plans to use data from this network to evaluate relationships between plot-scale data and that coming from the Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) satellite. The intended goal of SMAP is to provide global measurements of soil moisture and its freeze/thaw state. These measurements will be used to enhance understanding of processes that link the water, energy, and carbon cycles, and to extend the capabilities of weather and climate prediction models. SMAP is a directed mission of NASA ( and is managed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.