Soil Moisture Variability and Its Relationship to GCMs

General circulation models (GCMs) for atmosphere and ocean attempt to describe, explain, and predict global climate changes. To do this effectively and efficiently, these programs must glean the most information from the least amount of data input and computation. Most GCMs divide the globe into areas thousands of kilometers squared. A brief glance at any regional topographic map, however, clearly illustrated that such large-scale discretization cannot take into account the enormous variations of elevation, water, flux, and temperature within a cell area; variations that greatly affect the distribution of energy and water around the globe.

Many scientists have recognized the importance of soil moisture variability in the climate scheme and have recently begun to tackle this problem. For example, the Southern Great Plains Hydrology Experiment will take place this June. It is the largest, high resolution soil moisture experiment to date.

SGP97 will be using truck and aircraft-based sensors to remotely measure soil moisture.

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