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Upper CO River Basin Soil Moisture Observing Station is Up and Running

October 20, 2009

Map showing locations of CO River Basin soil moisture observing stations.

Bob Zamora of PSD installs the soil moisture observing system. (Photo credit: Clark King, NOAA)

On October 2, 2009 the first of two ESRL Physical Sciences Division (PSD) soil moisture observing stations planned for the Upper Colorado River Basin became operational. The Granby, Colorado observing station is located at the Granby Airport. Currently, soil moisture and temperature at depths of 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 cm along with wind speed, wind direction, surface temperature, surface relative humidity, snow depth, and precipitation are being observed.

The observations will be used to support research and operational needs for soil moisture and surface flux observations. Partners include the NOAA Hydrometeorological Testbed (HMT) Program, the National Integrated Drought Information Service (NIDIS) and the National Weather Service (NWS) Colorado River Basin Forecast Center (CBRFC).

The Granby site was chosen specifically to monitor snow depth and snowpack losses caused by sublimation. PSD plans to augment the Granby location with instrumentation that will measure surface sensible, latent, radiative and ground heat fluxes in the spring of 2010. Another similar observing site will be deployed near Gunnison, CO during the summer of 2010.

Contact: Bob Zamora