Ecosystem scale measurements of water using cosmic-ray neutrons

2013 Spring Cyberseminar Series

Trenton Franz / University of Arizona

Talk Abstract:

The recently developed cosmic-ray method for measuring soil moisture over a horizontal footprint of hectometers and the depth of decimeters is currently being implemented in the COsmic-ray Soil Moisture Observing System (COSMOS). Currently 60 probes are operational in the continental USA with future expansion consisting of a network with 500 probes. The probe measures cosmic-ray neutrons that are generated within air and soil and are moderated mainly by hydrogen atoms in soil water, and emitted to the atmosphere where they form a well-mixed reservoir of neutrons whose density is inversely correlated with soil moisture. Here I will present a general overview of the COSMOS project and cosmic-ray method for measuring soil moisture. In addition I will present some recent work on quantifying other pools of hydrogen inside the probe support volume, most notably biomass, and a summary of mobile measurements used to quantify basin-scale soil moisture patterns. Given the new scale of observations and ability to quantify various pools of hydrogen, this measurement technique is an exciting advance with clear implications in hydrology, ecology, terrestrial hydrometerology, agronomy, and remote sensing.

CUAHSI's Spring 2013 Cyberseminar Series on Complementary Methods and Models!

Hosted by Adam Ward, University of Iowa.