SoilMERGE (SMERGE) is a new root-zone soil moisture (RZSM) product in development that covers the entire continental United States. A fundamental limiting factor that constrains agricultural productivity is RZSM. Also delineation of RZSM is important for drought monitoring and RZSM is considered a critical climate variable.
This product is developed based on merging NLDAS land surface model output with surface satellite retrievals from the European Space Agency (ESA) Climate Change Initiative (CCI). Therefore, unlike other observational soil moisture products SMERGE spans nearly four decades (1979 to 2015). The product has a 0.125o spatial resolution at a daily time step.
A key initial user for SMERGE will be the USDA Northern Plains Regional Climate Hub (NPRCH). Stakeholder input will be solicited during the initial phases of product development. This effort will maximize the utility of SMERGE to diverse users who have an interest in long-term analysis of RZSM to support activities in the areas of water and land management and within the agricultural sector.