Climatic and Soil Water Variations over the Little River Watershed

A cooperative project between

USDA Agricultural Research Service Southeast Watershed Research Laboratory
USDA Agricultural Research Service Hydrology and Remote Sensing Laboratory
University of South Carolina
University of Florida
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

aqua logo little river watershed basin

The USDA-ARS Southeast Watershed Research Lab has collected hydrologic and climatic data on the 334 km2 Little River Watershed (LRW) near Tifton, Georgia since 1968. The watershed is typical of the heavily vegetated, slow-moving stream systems in the Coastal Plain Region of the U.S. Half-hour measurements of soil-water at 5 and 20 cm and one minute rainfall data are being collected at 12 rain gages within the LRW. The observations are being used to examine relationships between point measurements of soil- water and remotely sensed spatially averaged estimates, to examine spatial and temporal trends across the watershed, to develop predictive relationships between precipitation and runoff, and to make comparisons with other ARS watersheds. The network of 12 sites continuously monitor soil-water in the top 20 cm of the profile. The sites are approximately 9 km apart. Each station consists of a data logger, a rain gage, and two Vitel hydraprobes for measurement of volumetric soil-water. Several methods are being explored to relate the point observations of soil-water to the spatially averaged estimates. The data are being used to evaluate several remote sensing techniques for their ability to assess soil-water by comparing values determined from the remotely sensed data to measurements collected from the LRW soil-water system. This work is partially supported by a NASA grant for validation studies for data products from the Earth Observation System AQUA Satellite ( This study will be testing the AMSR-E sensors aboard AQUA. The study will help to advance methods for estimating soil-water from remotely sensed measurements in moderately and heavily vegetated landscapes.

David Bosch
USDA-ARS, Southeast Watershed Research Laboratory
PO Box 946
Tifton, GA, 31794
ph 229-386-3899    fax 229-386-7294    email:

Dr. Tom Jackson
USDA-ARS, Hydrology and Remote Sensing Laboratory
Rm. 104, Bldg. 007, BARC-West
Beltsville, MD 20705-2350
ph 301-504-7490    fax 301-504-8931    email:

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