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SMAP - Soil Moisture Active Passive - Mapping soil moisture and freeze/thaw state from Space
Field Sampling
June 7, 2012
Mike Cosh
USDA Agricultural Research Service

Justin and Marco sampling near a temporary network station in a spring wheat field.
Installing a temporary network station.

June 7th was our first day of soil moisture sampling in the SMAPVEX12 experiment after two days of training and rehearsal. Beginning at 6:45am, 13 soil moisture teams set out to record surface soil moisture at 59 fields. By 2pm, the teams had returned successfully measuring moistures at 53 fields.

Time constraints and field operations by farmers inhibited a full data set which often happens when working in an agricultural landscape. Strategic planning helps to offset these issues by sampling multiple fields on each flight line.

The fully mature winter wheat fields provided the toughest challenge for the samplers, while most of the other fields were just in the early stages of development, such as corn, soybeans, and canola. In the next few weeks these will grow several feet, providing a contrast for remote sensing and an obstacle for the ground samplers. Overall a very successful day...

Forest site #2 is also known as Tickville given the density of the canopy and understory.
Field samplers among the soybeans.
Aaron fixing a malfunctioning probe in the field.

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