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Data Set ID:

SMEX03 Little River Micronet Soil Moisture Data: Georgia, Version 1

Data for this study were collected from the Little River Watershed (LRW) Micronet regional study areas of southeastern Georgia, US using in situ soil moisture sensors at depths of 2, 8, and 12 inches in addition to tipping bucket rain gauges as part of the Soil Moisture Experiment 2003 (SMEX03).

Geographic Coverage

  • Soils > Electrical Conductivity
  • Precipitation > Precipitation Amount
  • Soils > Soil Moisture/Water Content
  • Soils > Soil Salinity/Soil Sodicity
  • Soils > Soil Temperature
Spatial Coverage:
  • N: 31.8, S: 31.4, E: -83.4, W: -83.75

Spatial Resolution: Not Specified
Temporal Coverage:
  • 1 May 2003 to 31 August 2003
Temporal Resolution: 30 minute
Data Format(s):
  • ASCII Text
Version: V1
Data Contributor(s): David Bosch, Michael Cosh
Data Citation

As a condition of using these data, you must cite the use of this data set using the following citation. For more information, see our Use and Copyright Web page.

Bosch, D. and M. Cosh. 2008. SMEX03 Little River Micronet Soil Moisture Data: Georgia, Version 1. [Indicate subset used]. Boulder, Colorado USA. NASA National Snow and Ice Data Center Distributed Active Archive Center. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.5067/O4H3C4V9K5MR. [Date Accessed].

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Detailed Data Description


Data are presented in ASCII comma-delimited text files. Table 1 details the data fields for each of the nineteen text files.

Table 1. Column Format for All Data Files
Column Heading Units Description
Date MM/DD/YYYY (Month/Day/Year) Date reading was made
Time HH:MM (Hour:Minute) Eastern Daylight Time (EDT)
2Temp °F (Degrees Fahrenheit) Soil temperature measurement 2 inches below surface
2WtrCnt cm3/cm3 (Cubic Centimeters/Cubic Centimeters) Soil water content measurement 2 inches below surface
2Sal g/L (Grams/Liter) Soil salinity measurement 2 inches below surface
2Con mhos/m (Electrical Conductance/Meter) Soil conductivity measurement 2 inches below surface
8Temp °F (Degrees Fahrenheit) Soil temperature measurement 8 inches below surface
8WtrCnt cm3/cm3 (Cubic Centimeters/Cubic Centimeters) Soil water content measurement 8 inches below surface
8Sal g/L (Grams/Liter) Soil salinity measurement 8 inches below surface
8Con mhos/m (Electrical Conductance/Meter) Soil conductivity measurement 8 inches below surface
12Temp °F (Degrees Fahrenheit) Soil temperature measurement 12 inches below surface
12WtrCnt cm3/cm3 (Cubic Centimeters/Cubic Centimeters) Soil water content measurement 12 inches below surface
12Sal g/L (Grams/Liter) Soil salinity measurement 12 inches below surface
12Con mhos/m (Electrical Conductance/Meter) Soil conductivity measurement 12 inches below surface
PrecipPrd in (Inches) Total precipitation rain gauge measurement per record period
PrecipDay in (Inches) Total precipitation rain gauge measurement per day
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File and Directory Structure

Data are available on the FTP site in the soil_moisture_network directory. Nineteen ASCII files, each representing a different LRW Micronet station, are contained within this directory.

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File Naming Convention

Files are named according to the following convention:



Table 2. Description of File Name Variables
Variable Description
RG LRW Micronet rain gauge station (RG = rain gauge)
## LRW Micronet station identification number
MJJA Indicates data collected during May, June, July, and August
yyyy Four-digit year
.dat Indicates that this is a data file.

Example: RG08_MJJA_2003.dat

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File Size

File sizes range from 494 to 649 KB each.

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The total data volume is approximately 12 MB.

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Spatial Coverage

The data set covers LRW Micronet stations located in southeastern Georgia:

Southernmost Latitude: 31.4° N
Northernmost Latitude: 31.8° N
Westernmost Longitude: 83.75° W
Easternmost Longitude: 83.4° W

Table 3 lists a detailed geographic description of the 19 LRW Micronet stations. Location information is georeferenced to the World Geodetic System 1984 (WGS 84) datum.

Table 3. Geolocation of Measurements
Rain Gauge
RG08 31.48656 -83.5737 3486396 255514
RG12 31.52344 -83.63895 3490633 249416
RG16 31.55747 -83.56733 3494245 256307
RG22 31.59112 -83.65478 3498174 248094
RG26 31.62946 -83.61244 3502329 252215
RG31 31.67102 -83.69819 3507136 244193
RG32 31.67275 -83.64213 3507197 249514
RG34 31.69171 -83.69268 3509417 244772
RG37 31.70929 -83.75400 3511512 239007
RG39 31.70491 -83.70537 3510911 243605
RG40 31.71093 -83.67384 3511504 246611
RG43 31.72600 -83.71642 3513275 242616
RG50 31.75212 -83.69296 3516117 244911
RG52 31.75630 -83.75168 3516720 239359
RG63 31.52143 -83.54790 3490205 258057
RG65 31.64325 -83.41135 3503419 271327
RG66 31.67191 -83.60215 3507013 253304
RG67 31.56676 -83.70344 3495586 243409
RG68 31.41240 -83.36482 3477727 275188

Spatial Resolution

The LRW Micronet stations are approximately 9 km apart.

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Temporal Coverage

Data were acquired from 01 May 2003 to 31 August 2003.

Temporal Resolution

This data set includes soil moisture data and precipitation data at 30 minute intervals. Hydra Probe (HP) measurements were recorded every five minutes, then averaged, and rain gauge measurements were recorded every minute, then summed.

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Parameter or Variable

Parameter Description

Parameters for this data set include:

  • Precipitation (inches)
  • Soil Temperature (°F)
  • Volumetric Soil Moisture (cm3/cm3)
  • Soil Conductivity (mhos/m)
  • Soil Salinity (g/L)

Sample Data Record

Table 4 displays a partial sample of the data file RG08_MJJA_2003.dat. The first four columns and last four columns of the data file are shown for the first four rows.

Table 4. Sample Data Record
Date, Time, 2Temp, 2WtrCnt, ... 12Sal, 12Con, PrecipPrd, PrecipDay
"05/30/2003", "11:00", 75.28, 0.1673, ... 0.0196, 0.00088, 0, 0
"05/30/2003", "11:30", 76.15, 0.1658, ... 0.0187, 0.00084, 0, 0
"05/30/2003", "12:00", 77.04, 0.1657, ... 0.0221, 0.00098, 0, 0
"05/30/2003", "12:30", 77.94, 0.1658, ... 0.0197, 0.00088, 0, 0
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Error Sources

The quality control of this data set was limited to removing samples for which the program returned erroneous data due to corrupted voltages. These voltages may be a result of several things, including for example, faulty installation, lightening strikes, and rodent impact. Erroneous samples were removed; therefore, the data are not continuous for every HP.

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Software and Tools

Quality Assessment

These data have been quality controlled and suspect or missing data have been removed. Consequently, the data are not continuous. Quality control and quality assurance have been limited, but investigations have led to some improvements. Several sensors have been eliminated from this averaging due to poor or suspicious performance. Arithmetic averages and averages based on nearest neighbor weighting are based on the same set of sensors. Standard deviations are also calculated for reference. Table 5 lists regions where measurements are either poor or outside the LRW Micronet.

Table 5. Geolocation of Data of Poor Quality or Outside LRW Micronet
rain gauge
RG08 31.48656 -83.5737 3486396 255514 Poor
RG26 31.62946 -83.61244 3502329 252215 Poor
RG37 31.70929 -83.75400 3511512 239007 Poor
RG39 31.70491 -83.70537 3510911 243605 Poor
RG43 31.72600 -83.71642 3513275 242616 Poor
RG66 31.67191 -83.60215 3507013 253304 Outside LRW Micronet
RG67 31.56676 -83.70344 3495586 243409 Outside LRW Micronet
RG68 31.41240 -83.36482 3477727 275188 Outside LRW Micronet
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Data Acquisition and Processing

The LRW Micronet

The USDA-ARS SEWRL collected hydrologic and climatic data on the 334 km2 LRW near Tifton, Georgia, USA since 1968. The LRW Micronet hydrologic network consists of rain gauges and stream gauges within nested watersheds as shown in Figure 1. It is located in the headwaters of the Suwannee River Basin, a major interstate basin that begins in Georgia and empties into the Gulf of Mexico in the Big Bend region of Florida. The Suwannee River Basin is completely contained in the Coastal Plain Physiographic Region and is the largest free-flowing river in the Southeastern United States Coastal Plain. The Little River is a tributary of the Withlacoochee River which, along with the Alapaha River, is one of two main tributaries of the Suwannee River

Figure 1. Map of the LREW Micronet Hydrologic Network: Georgia, USA
Figure 1. LRW Micronet Hydrologic Network: Georgia, USA

The paired and nested arrangement of the experimental watershed facilitates testing of analytical formulas and modeling concepts. Instrumentation was installed in the late 1960s and early 1970s and has been in continuous operation since that time. Continued operation of this hydrologic network supports hydrologic research as well as the environmental quality and riparian research programs of the SEWRL and cooperators.

Extensive land use information (Williams 1982)(Perry, et al 1999) and physical characterization data (Sheridan and Ferreira 1992) exist for the LRW Micronet. The watershed land use is a mixture of row-crop agriculture, pasture and forage production, upland forest, and riparian forest. Sub-watersheds range from approximately 25 pecent to 65 percent agricultural land. Figures 2 and 3 show vegetation conditions in the Georgia regional study area as expected in late June. Rainfall in the region is poorly distributed and often occurs as short-duration, high-intensity convective thunderstorms (Bosch et al 1999). Hydrologic and water quality measurements collected on the watershed include: stream flow; precipitation; and nutrient, pathogenic bacteria, and pesticide content. The hydrologic measurement network consists of eight horizontal broad-crested weirs with v-notch center sections. Five minute continuous upstream and downstream stage data are recorded. Within the watershed, a network of 35 tipping bucket precipitation gauges record five minute cumulative rainfall. The spacing between the precipitation gauges varies from 3 to 8 km. A detailed data management system exists to provide processing, editing, and summarization of LRW Micronet data (Sheridan, et al 1995).

Figure 2. Peanut Crop in Georgia, USA. Figure 2. Cotton Crop in Georgia, USA.
Figure 2. Peanut Crop in Georgia, USA
Vegetation conditions in the Georgia regional study area as expected in late June.
Figure 3. Cotton Crop in Georgia, USA
Vegetation conditions in the Georgia regional study area as expected in late June.
Sensor or Instrument Description

Soil moisture and temperature were measured using Stevens-Vitel Type A Hydra Probes, as shown in Figure 4. This version is compatible with Campbell CR-10 data loggers; the temperature output voltage never exceeds 2.5 volts. The HP has three main structural components: a multiconductor cable, a probe head, and sensing tines. Precipitation was measured using Texas Electronics tipping bucket rain gauges.

Figure 4. Stevens-Vitel Hydra Probe
Figure 4. Stevens-Vitel Hydra Probe
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Data Acquisition Methods

In 2001, as part of the NASA Aqua Calibration/Validation Program, surface soil moisture sensors were installed at a number of locations in the LRW and surrounding region. Thirty-nine Stevens-Vitel soil moisture Hydra Probes were installed at thirteen locations within or near the watershed, spaced approximately 9 km apart. The data have been collected consistently since early 2002. An additional six LRW Micronet soil moisture sites were established in 2003, and are distributed at existing rain gauge sites and areas outside of the watershed. Refer to the Spatial Coverage section for a list of station locations.

Each of the nineteen LRW Micronet locations contain three soil moisture probes and a digital-recording rain gauge. The soil moisture sensors are installed at 2, 8, and 12 inches below the surface. The HP has three main structural components: a multiconductor cable, a probe head, and sensing tines. The probes were installed horizontally in the soil, with the center tine at a depth of 5 cm. The installation technique aims to minimize disruption to the site so that the probe measurement reflects the undisturbed site as much as possible. Precipitation totals are recorded every minute during rainfall events and half-hour soil moisture averages are calculated from five minute readings. All ongoing data are transferred daily and available on a near-real-time basis from the SEWRL Web site. For SMEX03, hourly rainfall measurements were summed for 30 minute intervals and five minute soil moisture measurments were averaged for 30 minute intervals. The selected subset of Little River rain gauge sites provides watershed-area coverage and covers a range of soil types. Please refer to the LRW Web site for more information.

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Derivation Techniques and Algorithms

The output data from the HP consists of a time stamp and four voltages (V1-V4). These voltages are converted to estimate the soil moisture and soil temperature through a program provided by the HP manufacturer, Stevens-Vitel. Refer to the Stevens-Vitel Web site for the Hydra.exe or the hyd-file.exe program. These programs require the four voltages and a soil classification, for example: Sand=1, Silt=2, and Clay=3. Each site was considered sand for this data set.

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References and Related Publications

Contacts and Acknowledgments

David D. Bosch
Southeast Watershed Research Laboratory (SEWRL)
US Department of Agriculture (USDA) - Agricultural Research Service (ARS)
Tifton, GA 31794 USA

Michael H. Cosh
Hydrology and Remote Sensing Lab
US Department of Agriculture (USDA) - Agricultural Research Service (ARS)
Beltsville, MD 20705 USA


The investigators would like to acknowledge the USDA ARS SEWRL in addition to the many graduate students and volunteers who collected the field data. They would also like to acknowledge NASA for their generous contributions to the study.

Document Information

Document Creation Date

March 2008

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