A technology that can examine droughts around the Earth through satellite observation data and model simulation data has been released.
The Ulsan Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST) announced on the 28th that it has developed a technology that can monitor drought in real time with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
In order to prevent drought damage, a technology that monitors the level of soil water shortage in real time is needed.
Currently, satellite radio waves are used to find water in the soil up to 5cm deep in the earth’s surface layer. However, there is a limitation due to time and space restrictions on observable water information. This is because the propagation of microwavelengths used for observation cannot reach the depth of tens of centimeters in the root layer, which is important for plant growth, and the gap in the observation area is wide as the satellite orbits the Earth.
The research team of Ulsan Science and Technology Institute increased the accuracy of soil moisture information by mixing soil moisture information observed from satellites with model simulation data (data assimilation).
Model simulations have the advantage of providing information on the total amount of soil moisture on the earth, including the root layer, by taking into account variables such as precipitation, radiant heat, surface temperature, and wind.
For this reason, mixing soil moisture information and model simulation data directly observed from satellites can produce accurate soil moisture information in a wider range, the team said.
Professor Lee Myung-in said, “This study could be used not only to monitor drought but also to develop technologies that can predict drought in the mid- to long-term.”
The study was released online on December 9 in the Remote Sensing of Environment, the top academic journal in the field of remote exploration.
The research was carried out with support from the Korea Meteorological Administration and the Korea Meteorological Institute for Industrial Technology for Meteorological and Earthquake Seeds.