Working Towards Soil Moisture Monitoring in Canada

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					Working Towards Soil Moisture Monitoring in
                Canada:
           An AAFC – EC Plan
                   J. Fitzmaurice3, A. Howard1 and G. Brunet2
                                  March , 2009
                             Oak Ridge, Tennessee
1 Manager, National Agroclimate Information Service, Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada; Regina, Saskatchewan
2Research  Director,Meteorological Research Division , Environment Canada, Dorval, Quebec
3Senior Soil Resource Specialist, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Winnipeg, Manitoba
Benefits of Improved Soil Moisture Information

Producers:
Improved understanding and
   prediction of soil moisture
   would allow producers to:




                                    Depth of dye penetration (cm)
                                                                               Optimal
    – manage better during period                                               Time
      of excess and insufficient
      moisture;
    – improve yield predictions                                                                   Larger
                                                                                                   Pore
                                                                     Crack
    – minimize on-farm                                              Bypass
                                                                                                   Flow
      environmental risk (e.g.,
      when to spread manure)                                             Average Soil Water Content (%)
                                                                             D. Lapen, Research Branch, AAFC 2008




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Benefits of Improved Soil Moisture Information

• Federal and Provincial programs:
   – Improved predictions would reduce disaster payouts
      • ~ 5.8 billion loss to Canada incurred in the 2001-2002 drought. If planning-
        monitoring-adaptation programs reduced loss by even <1%, $ 10’s of millions
        could be saved.
      • Cover Crop Protection Pgm. (CCPP) costs > $100M; a reduction in affected
        acreage by 10% would have saved $3.5 Million in 2005 alone
   – Impact on competitiveness
      • Money saved by reduced disaster relief costs is money available for options
        to improve the sector’s competitiveness




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Benefits of Improved Soil Moisture Information
Early warning of extreme weather events
•   Flood and runoff warnings
     – Enhance human safety
     – Reduce risk of water contamination
•   Human health warnings
     – Risk of radon entering residential basements
     – Poor air quality due to low-level atmospheric mixing
•   Forestry
     – Enhanced forest fire risk assessment

Water Resources
•   Water availability
     – consistent with emerging recommendations for the Deputy Ministers’ Committee
       on Economic Prosperity, the Environment and Energy from interdepartmental
       working group to better understand and predict water availability


Value of Improved Weather Forecasting                                                 4
Where did it start?

Towards a Federal Earth Observation Strategy for Canada (2006)
• Developed by EC, AAFC, NRCan, CSA, DFO, HC, DFAIT as participants in
   the Canadian Group on Earth Observation (CGEO)

•   A better understanding of the water cycle is a priority for Canada
     – Increased economic development and population growth will put increasing
       demand on Canada’s land and water resources.
     – Climate change is adding uncertainty as to how droughts, floods and other
       extreme events will impact the sustainability of our environment, our economic
       competitiveness and our public health and safety
     – Our ability to better predict climate variability and improve our forecasting of
       extreme events will be critical in our ability to maintain competitiveness in all
       economic sectors.

•   Soil Moisture was determined to be a key component in improving our understanding
    of the water cycle



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Where did it start?

• Identified improved soil moisture monitoring as key
  priority in understanding the water cycle:
   – Current monitoring in Canada is ad hoc and uncoordinated
     between regions and agencies. Need for national
     consistency.
   – New opportunities to harness emerging technologies to
     improve data
   – Opportunity to work with US to build a continental system


• Establish a working group on soil moisture

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Soil Moisture Working Group

• Established working group on soil moisture under
  CGEO
   – Purpose is to work toward a better understanding of Soil
     moisture in Canada
• 2 major outputs from this group
   – Soil Moisture Monitoring Workshop May 2007
   – Develop Way Forward document (May 2008) and work plan




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Soil Moisture Monitoring Workshop

• Held in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan May, 2007
   – Purpose : The main objectives of the workshop was to provide
     information and input into drafting a path forward to address the needs for
     soil moisture monitoring , analysis and prediction information in Canadian
     agricultural landscapes..
   – organized under the umbrella of the interdepartmental Canadian Group on
     Earth Observations (CGEO), in close collaboration with Agriculture and
     Agri-Food Canada and Environment Canada.
• 4 main topic areas
   – In Situ Monitoring, Remote Sensing, Modelling and Data Assimilation,
     User Services and Applications
   – Break out groups for each area


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Soil Moisture Monitoring Workshop

• Short Term Goals (< 2 years)
   – In-Situ Monitoring:
      • Form working group(s) for sensor selection/defining standards, for quality
        control and calibration, for network design, and for data assimilation
      • Network design manual of procedures
      • Write operating procedures
      • Define data standards
      • Determine locations for test bed facilities
      • Ensure sustainability of existing networks (Quebec has funds ending soon)
      • Plan workshop for quality control of data and assimilation of existing data
      • Identify partners and user requirements




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Soil Moisture Monitoring Workshop

• Short Term Goals (< 2years)
   – Remote Sensing
      •   Generate inventory of existing data
      •   Execute formal partnership agreements
      •   Obtain access to existing L band SAR data (ALOS PALSAR)
      •    Find resources to work with SMOS data, initially for calibration and validation
      •   Form partnerships in SMAP mission
      •   Improve understanding of relationship between point observations and pixel
          scale observations




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Soil Moisture Monitoring Workshop

• Short Term Goals (< 2years)
   – Modeling and Data Assimilation
      • Execute agreements to access near-real time data on soil moisture and
        precipitation
      • Gain access to existing land cover and soil texture data sets
      • Write model documentation
      • Improve assimilation of existing remotely-sensed data
      • Participate in new satellite planning
      • Research on the inclusion of remote-sensing data in a Canadian LDAS




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Soil Moisture Monitoring Workshop

• Short Term Goals (< 2years)
   – User Services and Applications
      • Plan follow-up workshop(s) for users – include more provincial
        representatives
      • Identify users and their needs/applications
      • Identify and manage data standards
      • Establish formal linkages to GEO tasks and committees




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Soil Moisture Monitoring Workshop

• Medium Term Goals ( 2-4years)
   – In-Situ Monitoring
      •   Create web portal for soil moisture data and community – need champion
      •    Develop data QA/QC process
      •   Execute land and data sharing agreements for monitoring network locations
      •   Implement test beds
   – Remote Sensing
      • Find resources to better characterize land surface parameters
      • Form working group on data validation
      • Improve transfer (or observation) models used in LDAS for the assimilation
        of remote-sensing data




                                                                                  13
Soil Moisture Monitoring Workshop

• Medium Term Goals ( 2-4years)
   – Modeling and Data Assimilation
      • Improve existing in situ and remote sensing networks/datasets
      •  Implement near real time vegetation analysis
      •  Implement remote sensing data in LDAS
      • Execute operational access agreements to near real time data soil moisture
        and precipitation
      • Speed up movement from research to operation


   – User Services and Applications
      • Develop algorithms and tools to generate useful information through aclient
        committee (user researcher interface)
      • Form community of practice


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  Soil Moisture Monitoring Workshop

• Long Term Goals (> 4years)
   – In-Situ Monitoring
      •   Oversee network implementation
      •   Review/re-evaluate sensors and test beds
      •    Maintain equipment (life cycle management)
      •   Update standards
      •    Perform site maintenance
      •    Perform ISO audits
      •    Manage metadata
      •   Install new key monitoring networks




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Soil Moisture Monitoring Workshop

• Long Term Goals (> 4years)
   – Remote Sensing
       • Better understand plant-soil interactions
       • Create experimental watersheds (calibrated basins or super sites) for validation and
         calibration of sensors
       • Establish procedures for extending surface data (from satellites) to soil profile/depth
         information from sensors/modeling
   – Modeling and Data Assimilation
       •   Improve models through collaboration with Universities and researchers
       •   Improve topographic input, using LiDAR Digital Elevation Model (DEM)
       •   Ensure coverage / representative-ness of data is appropriate
       •   Soil moisture modelling and assimilation at smaller scales (towards field scale)
       •   Probabilistic soil moisture products using ensemble techniques
   – User Services and Applications
       • Develop capability to deliver daily profiles of soil moisture at high spatial resolution (~km)

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Next Steps…

• Presently waiting for approval to develop a joint AAFC-
  EC plan to improve soil moisture monitoring in Canada
  over the next six months
• This plan will:
   – Provide a National Vision
   – Link soil moisture monitoring to EC and AAFC priorities and
     current and emerging initiatives
   – Identify key activities over next 6 months




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National Vision

A user focused system that:
• Has clearly demonstrated value to Canada
• Links in-situ, remote sensing, modeling and data assimilation
• Has multiple spatial scales that will be useful from the farm up to
   regional scale.
• It has multiple time scales that allow hourly to multi-seasonal
   predictions
• freely available to all users

Start small
A few select pilot projects are being considered
- a contribution to Gt. Lakes – St Lawrence Basin Pilot on
    Environmental Prediction
- agriculture productivity/water efficiency pilot in the Prairies
                                                                    18
Linkages between SMM and Current/Emerging
Initiatives

Environment Canada
Environmental Prediction
• Weather
   – Better understand and predict severe storm events, especially hail and
     damaging winds
• Water:
   – Better understanding of the risk of contaminant movement into Canada’s
     water system,
   – the demand on Canada’s water system from increased user demand and
     climate variability
• Climate Change:
   – Better understanding and prediction of ecosystem risks from changes in
     climate variability associated with climate changes
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Linkages between SMM and Current/Emerging
Initiatives

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Growing Forward
• to enable enterprises to adapt to risks posed by environmental factors (climate
   change, drought, etc.) and safeguard the future viability of their land and water
   base
     – Linkage with Crop Insurance and Federal Programs (e.g. AgriRecovery…):
          • Improved data and science to support identification of targeted areas target program delivery
          • Improved forecasting of risk – improved preparedness, quicker response

•   facilitate the sector’s contribution to addressing environmental priorities
     – Water Quantity: contribute to more responsible use of water through better
       irrigation management
     – Water Quality: contribute to cleaner water through improved management
       practices (timing of manure application and tillage practices, pesticide applications,
       erosion control)

Branch business line:
     – Agri-Environmental Knowledge and Decision Support
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Identify key activities over next 6 months


• Establish small steering committee with key CGEO
  partners co-chaired by EC and AAFC
• Engage partners to identify needs and align capacity for
  collaboration
   – Provinces, Academia, US agencies, Federal agencies:
   – Identify key research, monitoring and capacity gaps
• Establish inter-agency work plan
• Plan for Next 6 – 18 months
       • Establish pilot project to test proof of concept
       • Calibrate against international work and expert review
       • Develop system growth plan

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           Contributors

       AAFC                              EC
  Heather McNairn               Gilbert Brunet
  John Fitzmaurice               Charles Lin
    Eric Gauthier               Ken Korporal
Catherine Champagne             Jessika Toyra
   Andy Davidson               Stephane Belair
  Aston Chipanshi                 Kerri Swail
     Sarah Kalff
    Allan Howard Rick Lawford, Drought Research Initiative
      Ian Jarvis    Richard Dobbins, Statistics Canada