1Department of Hydrology and Water Resources, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721, USA
2Department of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721, USA
3Hydroinnova LLC, Albuquerque, NM 87106, USA
Received: 18 Mar 2012 – Discussion started: 04 Apr 2012
Abstract. The newly-developed cosmic-ray method for measuring area-average soil moisture at the hectometer horizontal scale is being implemented in the COsmic-ray Soil Moisture Observing System (or the COSMOS). The stationary cosmic-ray soil moisture probe measures the neutrons that are generated by cosmic rays within air and soil and other materials, moderated by mainly hydrogen atoms located primarily in soil water, and emitted to the atmosphere where they mix instantaneously at a scale of hundreds of meters and whose density is inversely correlated with soil moisture. The COSMOS has already deployed more than 50 of the eventual 500 cosmic-ray probes, distributed mainly in the USA, each generating a time series of average soil moisture over its horizontal footprint, with similar networks coming into existence around the world. This paper is written to serve a community need to better understand this novel method and the COSMOS project. We describe the cosmic-ray soil moisture measurement method, the instrument and its calibration, the design, data processing and dissemination used in the COSMOS project, and give example time series of soil moisture obtained from COSMOS probes.
Revised: 20 Sep 2012 – Accepted: 07 Oct 2012 – Published: 07 Nov 2012
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Zreda, M., Shuttleworth, W. J., Zeng, X., Zweck, C., Desilets, D., Franz, T., and Rosolem, R.: COSMOS: the COsmic-ray Soil Moisture Observing System, Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 16, 4079-4099, doi:10.5194/hess-16-4079-2012, 2012.