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SMAP - Soil Moisture Active Passive - Mapping soil moisture and freeze/thaw state from Space
Down Days
June 11, 2012
Eni Njoku
Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Eni in a soybean field, on a day off.
Rachel and Paul starting to take vegetation data.

We've been rained out for four straight days Friday through Monday due to unstable weather conditions in the area - not exactly what we expected! On the other hand we should certainly observe some pretty wet fields when we make our next PALS flights.

On Saturday things looked good in the early morning despite some low-lying fog and expectations that a weather front to the East might move into the area by early afternoon. So we gave the "Go" signal for the sampling teams to head for the fields. Meanwhile at the airport the fog thickened, so take-off was put on hold. Seth and Ian took advantage of the delay to work on some instrument troubleshooting.

Mike clipping the grass to measure vegetation water content.
Paul using a caliper to measure stem diameter.

By the time the fog at the airport lifted Rich determined that the weather front was moving in much faster than expected and would probably reach the edge of our sampling domain by mid-morning. So we reluctantly aborted the Twin Otter flight for the day and notified the field crew (who were no doubt also anxious not to get caught in the storm). When the storm hit it was a big one! The tornado chasers were out in force, we heard, but none were sighted according to the news (tornados, that is).

Sunday and Monday were also no-fly days due to scattered showers on both days. The vegetation sampling teams went out during a break in the weather on Monday and got some data (about one-third of the fields) but conditions were very cold and blustery, and rather unpleasant.

Cropscan demonstration.

Conditions are clearing and things look good for a flight tomorrow (Tuesday) and perhaps Wednesday also, we'll see.

In the meantime, here are a few more photos sent in by Mike Cosh (Mike left for DC on Sunday).

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We are quite a sight in the middle of Elm Creek at Ma's Diner.
Day is called early for excessive fog and approaching thunderstorms.

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