US: Researchers at the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) have found that soil moisture data collected by an earth-orbiting satellite launched by the European Space Agency as part of its Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity (SMOS) mission is about 95% accurate.
In 2002, Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists established soil moisture monitoring networks in four long-term experimental watersheds to verify the accuracy of soil moisture data collected by satellites orbiting Earth. Since then, the ARS researchers have been continuously monitoring soil moisture levels in these watersheds every hour. As a result, they had a vast amount of data they could use to validate soil moisture data collected by a new Earth-orbiting satellite launched by the European Space Agency as part of its Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity (SMOS) mission.
ARS is USDA”s chief intramural scientific research agency, and this work supports the USDA priority of responding to global climate change.
The new SMOS satellite used an innovative sensor technology to estimate soil moisture levels to within 4%, which is like measuring a teaspoon of water mixed into a handful of dry soil. But the accuracy of the data needed to be verified with actual soil moisture measurements.
Source: All About Feed