Western Soils and Plants are Parched

Western Soils and Plants are Parched

For the second year in a row, drought has parched much of the United States from the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific Coast. Crop-CASMA integrates measurements from NASA’s Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) satellite and vegetation indices from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instruments on NASA’s Terra and Aqua satellites. Farmers and resource managers can use soil moisture data to help time crop planting and irrigation, to forecast yields, and to track droughts and floods. Measuring evapotranspiration is useful because negative levels can indicate that plants are facing stress even if leaves have not yet wilted or turned brown. Drought conditions in the West are likely to get worse in 2021.

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