Bureau of Economic Geology

Observed Water Exchange in the Soil-Plant-Atmosphere Continuum

May 7, 2021 9:00 AM

Watch it here


Dr. Dara Entekhabi
Bacardi and Stockholm Water Foundations Professor Civil and Environmental Engineering
Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences Massachusetts Institute of Technology


The NASA Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) mission has so far resulted in over six years of global and frequent revisit mapping of surface soil moisture. This is a new data type for the hydrologic sciences. In this seminar two questions are addressed: 1) Does the introduction of a new data type for a discipline lead to a re-thinking of its conceptual and modeling frameworks? and 2) Is water exchange in the soil-plant-atmosphere continuum evident in the observed measurements? Through observation-driven example studies, we show that the remote sensing of global fields of soil moisture can provide new insights into the dynamics of water and energy balances at the land surface. We also show how the response of ecosystems to water stress varies with vegetation type and local climate conditions. The stress response is then linked to the carbon cycle over land.

Dara Entekhabi

University of Texas at Austin

University of Texas

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