SD Mesonet reports on soil moisture levels
BROOKINGS, S.D. – As northeast South Dakota fills sandbags and the southeast puts them away, many are using South Dakota Mesonet’s network of 28 locally-supported weather stations to monitor their local soil moisture profile.
“Frozen soil’s ability to drain water is impeded,” explained Mesonet Director Nathan Edwards at South Dakota State University. “Also, as the profile thaws, we get our first assessment of soil moisture conditions.”
South Dakotans can review the soil moisture map at mesonet.sdstate.edu. The map has a stack of discs for each station indicating status at different depths.
“The map is updated in real-time,” Edwards said. “As a sensor at that depth thaws, its corresponding disc changes from gray to a color indicating its soil moisture.”
The map also offers frost depth and thaw depth. Edwards explained, frost depth is the deepest occurrence of 32 degrees Fahrenheit and thaw depth is shallowest occurrence of 32 degrees Fahrenheit.
Mesonet soil moisture maps have been heavily relied on by those in emergency management and will be watched closely by those worried about planting into wet fields.
Operated by South Dakota State University with the support of local station sponsors, the South Dakota Mesonet is the state’s weather network serving the needs of the public, agriculture, water resources, emergency management and research.