Skip to main content
Dryad logo

Data from: Monitoring soil moisture at the catchment scale – A novel approach combining antecedent precipitation index and radar-derived rainfall data

Citation

Schoener, Gerhard; Stone, Mark C. (2021), Data from: Monitoring soil moisture at the catchment scale – A novel approach combining antecedent precipitation index and radar-derived rainfall data, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.3ffbg79jf

Abstract

Knowledge about soil moisture is important for event-based rainfall-runoff models but monitoring conditions at the catchment scale is not a trivial task. Soil moisture is highly variable in space and time, particularly in dry climates with seasonal and spatially heterogeneous rainfall. Point measurements are difficult to upscale, and remotely sensed (RS) data often lack in spatial or temporal resolution for local or regional studies. Longer latency periods – the time required before data becomes available – of some RS data make them less applicable to time-sensitive analyses such as flash flood forecasting. This study evaluated a novel approach for estimating catchment-scale volumetric soil moisture using an antecedent precipitation index (API) -based model. The model was trained and tested using in-situ soil moisture measurements collected during a 3-month field sampling campaign in a 142 km2 study area in central New Mexico. The calibrated model was applied at the catchment scale to produce soil moisture grids from radar-derived rainfall estimates. Model performance, resolution and latency were compared to satellite-based soil moisture estimates. Benefits of the proposed new method include high spatial resolution (1 × 1 km or less depending on the precipitation data source) and high prediction accuracy (root mean square errors 0.014–0.018 m3/m3). Given the short latency period for radar-derived rainfall data, the method has potential for use in operational flood risk assessment and forecasting.

Methods

This dataset contains soil moisture measurements collected at 25 locations in central New Mexico on 15 separate sampling days between June 25 and October 7, 2019. Volumetric moisture content (m3/m3) was measured for depths of 0-7.5 cm and 7.5-15 cm using a portable time-domain reflectometer calibrated to in-situ soil conditions.

Funding

University of New Mexico