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Facilitating Sustainable Management of the Earth’s Critical Zone: The Role of Soil Moisture Science and Technology

  • 216 Noble Research Center Stillwater, OK 74075 (map)

The SOIL BIOLOGY INTEREST GROUP invites the general public and the Oklahoma research community to the seminar, “Facilitating Sustainable Management of the Earth’s Critical Zone: The Role of Soil Moisture Science and Technology”

Friday, March 30, 2018
12:00 PM at 216 Noble Research Center
Pizza, donuts and beverages provided

by Dr. Tyson E. Ochsner, Associate Professor, Sarkey’s Distinguished Professor, Plant and Soil Sciences, Oklahoma State University.


Sustainable management of the “critical zone” requires adequate understanding of dynamic critical zone state variables that influence key ecosystem processes. A wide variety of ecosystem processes important to human and natural systems are strongly influenced by soil moisture. Unfortunately, adequate soil moisture information is not widely available because soil moisture measurements are relatively sparse and soil moisture levels exhibit exceptional spatial variability due to human and natural factors. Our group is working to improve the quality, availability, and use of soil moisture information in Oklahoma and beyond. This presentation will provide an overview of these ongoing efforts including: 1) using a cosmic-ray neutron rover to understand the primary drivers of spatial variability in soil moisture; 2) creating high-resolution, operational, statewide soil moisture maps by merging multiple data sources; 3) developing tools for both site-specific and statewide estimation of soil moisture conditions under cropland where no measurements exist; 4) exploring the use of soil moisture information to improve wildfire danger ratings; and 5) providing annual soil-moisture based, statewide maps indicating potential groundwater recharge. These efforts provide a glimpse of the growing importance of soil moisture science and technology in facilitating sustainable management of the Earth’s critical zone.