Soil moisture from a bird's eye view: Interview with Jian Peng


Not only for the flora the moisture level of the ground is of interest – but also for climate researchers. As the soil moisture is part of the hydrological cycle it therefore influences the climate, too. Detailed data are delivered by space-based satellites. CliSAP alumnus Jian Peng has now been interviewed by the journal of the American Geoscience Union (AGU) „Earth & Space Science News – EOS“ pointing out ways to improve the spatial resolution of these data:

Soil naturally radiates microwaves, and NASA’s Aquarius sensor aboard a satellite can detect the microwave signals that vary with changes in the wetness of the soil. Blue indicates highest levels of soil moisture while yellow are the lowest.

„Why is soil moisture important in the global climate system?

Soil moisture is crucial for plant growth. It is also a source of water for evapotranspiration. Because the evaporation of soil moisture requires energy, soil moisture has strong impacts on the surface temperature. Through controlling the exchange of water, energy and carbon fluxes between the land surface and the atmosphere, it plays important roles in various processes and feedback loops within the Earth system. Specifically, the soil moisture influences agricultural and hydrological processes, drought development, runoff generation and many other processes. Due to its importance for climate system, the soil moisture has been recognized as one of the Essential Climate Variables by the Global Climate Observing System.”read the complete interview.

Jian Peng contributed to the CliSAP Research Group „Terrestrial Remote Sensing“ led by Professor Alexander Löw. He followed Löw to the Ludwig-Maximilian-Universität (LMU) in Munich und is member of the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology (MPI-M)

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