Measuring Soil Moisture from Space

  • Released Thursday, October 17, 2013
  • Updated Wednesday, January 24, 2018 at 12:22PM
  • ID: 30177

These maps combine data from the twin satellites of the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) with other satellite and ground-based measurements to model the relative amount of water stored at three different levels: at the surface, at plant root level and underground from January 2003 to December 2014. The wetness, or water content, of each layer is compared to the average between 1948 and 2009. The darkest red regions represent dry conditions that should occur only 2 percent of the time (about once every 50 years). All of the maps are experimental products funded by NASA’s Applied Sciences Program and developed by scientists at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center and the National Drought Mitigation Center. The maps do not attempt to represent human consumption of water; but rather, they show changes in water storage related to weather, climate, and seasonal patterns.

A Root Zone Soil Moisture map showing moisture content in the “root zone,” or the top meter (39 inches) of soil.


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This visualization is related to the following missions:

Datasets used in this visualization

Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE)

Note: While we identify the data sets used in these visualizations, we do not store any further details nor the data sets themselves on our site.

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