Projects Overview

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Brief description of current and future projects are presented below.

WRF Hindcast

The WRF Hindcast project generates the input data used by the Grow Degree Calculator (GDC) and the Soil Moisture Estimator (SME) applications. WRF stands for Weather, Research, and Forecasting and is a program made available by UCAR/NCAR and other research participants. We use WRF to calculate a virtual weather station at a 3.3km resolution on an hourly basis for about half of the Western United States.

This project is fully operational, and is the backbone of the GDC and SME applications.

Grow Degree Calculator

Grow Degree Calculator application.

The Grow Degree Calculator project is based on the WRF Hindcast project and calculates the Grow Degree values for both crops and insects. Users can enter a location, a start and end date with lower and upper temps for the organism of interest. Output includes a text report, a plot of accumulated values over time, and an image the total accumulated values over the target sector. Click here to use the GDC application.

This project is fully operational, but requires studies to determining accuracy.

Soil Moisture Estimator

Soil Moisture Estimator application.

The Soil Moisture Estimator project is also based on the WRF Hindcast project and estimates the soil moisture at a given location. A more sophisticated program than the GDC, this application requires crop and soil information provided by the user.

The standard reference evapotranspiration, ETo, is calculated on an hourly basis for a daily total. The ETo calculation is based on the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) method given in this paper. The calculated ETo values and the WRF precipitation values give the atmospheric loads at the soil surface. The loads are presented to our implementation of the Sacramento Soil Moisture Accounting model for soil moisture estimation.

This project is fully operational, but requires studies to determining accuracy.

Soil Moisture Radar

The Soil Moisture Radar project implements a Software Defined Radio (SDR) bi-static radar, using GPS signals, to estimate soil moisture. GPS signals are ubiquitous and suited for top layer soil penetration. The difference between a signal that has reflected through the soil and one that has not gives an indicator of soil moisture. The signals to compare are derived from one antenna pointing up (direct and normal usage) with an antenna pointing down receiving the reflected signal.

This project is under development.