Soil moisture prediction

Understanding soil moisture, that is of how wet the soil gets, and how it varies between fields and over time is important for undertaking farming activities. Knowledge of soil moisture can dictate the timing of harvesting and sowing, use of tractors and other heavy machinery as well as pesticide application. BGS is building on their understanding of soil water processes to provide near real-time soil moisture values and to predict how this may change over the next few days. BGS has developed a national recharge model used to make climate change predictions and we are using this experience to develop short-term (a few days’ ahead) forecasts. The system is being trialled at 10 sites in the proposed Oxford-Cambridge development area. It uses readily available near real-time data provided by the Environment Agency and the UK’s Met Office (UKMO) along with weather forecasts provided by the UKMO and other global weather organisations. See the map viewer for examples of the output at locations where forecasts of soil moisture are produced.

soil moisture