A new network of sensors in the bone-dry Texas hill country will produce detailed data on soil moisture -- when there is any. While verifying the measurements of NASA's recently launched Soil Moisture Active Passive satellite (SMAP), the Texas Soil Observation Network (TxSON) will give state water agencies critical information for managing the Lone Star State's limited water.
"The drought has decreased soil moisture so intensely that if it rains, reservoirs don't fill up," said Todd Caldwell, a research associate who leads the TxSON project at the University of Texas at Austin's Bureau of Economic Geology. "We haven't been able to overcome this major depletion of soil water." Read more