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Project Highlights 2009 - Munson Farms Surface Soil Moisture Study

Munson Farms Surface Soil Moisture Study

  • Principal Investigator (PI): Kristine Larson (University of Colorado Boulder) and John Braun (University Center for Atmospheric Research)
  • Field Engineers: Sarah Doelger (UNAVCO)
  • Dates: March 2009
  • Location: Munson Farms, Boulder, CO

Two continuously operating GPS stations were recently installed at Munson Farms outside of Boulder, Colorado. The stations will operate for three years and are part of a larger, continental-scale study that aims to convert GPS signal-to-noise (SNR) data into estimates of surface soil moisture content. This product will be available in near-real time for climate, hydrology, and ecology applications. In addition, the soil moisture estimates will be useful for ground-truth of lower resolution satellite missions (SMOS and SMAP).

This new phase of research will focus on the following topics: 1. Validation across varied soil types. 2. Quantifying the impact of vegetation on retrieval algorithms. 3. Assessing the impact of surface roughness on retrieval algorithms. 4. Determine how antenna gain and phase patterns impact SNR observations 5. Merge our theoretical understanding of multipath reflections with observations.

The stations are located approximately a mile and a half apart from each other. One is located on the perimeter of a corn field and the other is in a hay field. The differing vegetation at the sites will help identify how vegetation amount and structure affect GPS-derived estimates of soil moisture.

Trimble NetRS receivers are installed at both sites and are downloading hourly binex data files. Wireless communications are set up at the cornfield site, however, the grass station currently remains manual download.

GPS Plateau Testbed at South Pole Station. This system incorporates more efficient insulation, superior wind turbines, and improved thermal management. 16 channels of engineering data are being recorded here through winter 2009, including a side-by-side test of two wind modified turbines.

Figure 1 - The fully operational grass site.

GPS prototype station at Iggy Ridge in the Miller Range. This site, at the edge of the Polar Plateau at 84 degrees south experiences severe cold and extreme winds, and is a proving ground for wind turbine	technology, structural designs, and thermal management.

Figure 2 - PI Eric Small and UNAVCO engineer Sarah Doelger work on the installation of the grass site.

GPS Plateau Testbed site installed at South Pole Station.

Figure 3 - UNAVCO engineer Sarah Doelger welds a fitting for the GPS monument.


Last modified: 2020-01-28  22:54:20  America/Denver