Water and Climate Program
Products and Services Briefing Book
Soil Climate and Analysis Network Initiative (SCAN)
Effective assessment and management of our nation's resources has
become more urgent and complex in response to economic, environmental, and
legislative pressures. Currently, there is no national network of
automated resource data sites collecting this information. Existing
networks are limited in scope, vary significantly in the type, quality,
and frequency of data that they collect, and are usually very specific to
a local need.
The NRCS, as the lead USDA conservation agency, could respond by
employing new technologies, procedures, and coordination to provide
reliable and timely national soil moisture and soil temperature
information and associated meteorological climate observations.
SCAN would provide the resource data required to monitor soil moisture
and climate data for major soils, climate, resource, and hydrologic
regions, water quality and for assessing crop productivity, air quality,
and drought risk. Armed with this data, NRCS can provide enhanced
conservation and operational planning assistance. SCAN is envisioned to be
a multi-agency network of up to 1000 (or more) new agriculture remote data
collection sites and would make extensive use of existing databases and
other acquisition networks through climate partnerships.
The USDA World Agriculture Outlook Board (WAOB) has endorsed SCAN's
potential, especially in light of the termination of agricultural climate
data collection by the National Weather Service. If the USDA's proposal
for the National Agricultural Weather Observation Network (NAWON) is
funded, SCAN would fill the data gaps that currently exist for USDA policy
decisions and other users interested in natural resource management.
National resource management issues for which long term soil/climate
information are needed include:
- Input to global circulation models.
- To predict, monitor and verify droughts.
- To develop new soil moisture accounting technology.
- To accurately identify and monitor critical soil
moisture-temperature zones, such as the boundaries between non-arable
and arable cropland, for boundary shifts.
- To monitor and predict changes in crop, range, and woodland
productivity in relation to soil moisture-temperature changes.
- To predict regional shifts in irrigation water requirements which
may affect reservoir construction and ground water levels.
- To predict shifts in wetlands.
- To predict changes in runoff that affects flooding and flood control
- To predict how soil erosion patterns will change both positively and
negatively as a result of soil moisture and temperature changes and
the resulting vegetation changes.
- To be able to verify and groundtruth satellite and soil moisture
- To predict the long term sustainability of cropping systems, and
The SCAN concept directly supports the current OSTP sponsored,
Environmental Monitoring Initiative (EMI) and the Western Governors
Sellers Lake SM/ST Site, Florida
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