Research and Application News
NASA Soil moisture data advances Global crop forecasts
01 June 2018
Data from the first NASA satellite mission dedicated to measuring the water content of soils is now being used operationally by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to monitor global croplands and make commodity forecasts.
The Soil Moisture Active Passive mission, or SMAP, launched in 2015 and has helped map the amount of water in soils worldwide. Now, with tools developed by a team at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, SMAP soil moisture data is being incorporated into the Crop Explorer website of the USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service, which reports on regional droughts, floods and crop forecasts. Crop Explorer is a clearinghouse for global agricultural growing conditions, such as soil moisture, temperature, precipitation, vegetation health and more.
Image credit: Joshua Stevens/NASA Earth Observatory - Map created with SMAP data from 16 May 2018, illustrates that soils that are wetter than normal are seen in greens, while those that are drier than normal are seen in browns.