United States Department of Agriculture
Natural Resources Conservation Service
National Water and Climate Center Go to Accessibility Information
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National Water and Climate Center

Automated Soil Climate Monitoring

The National Water and Climate Center administers a soil climate monitoring program consisting of automated data collection sites across the U.S. The Soil Climate Analysis Network (SCAN) began as a soil moisture/soil temperature pilot project of the Natural Resources Conservation Service in 1991. The system is designed to provide data to support natural resource assessments and conservation activities. The SCAN system focuses on agricultural areas of the U.S. and is composed of over 200 stations. A typical SCAN site monitors soil moisture content at several depths, air temperature, relative humidity, solar radiation, wind speed and direction, liquid precipitation, and barometric pressure. More about SCAN sensors.

SCAN automated data collection site

Soil moisture and temperature sensors at a SCAN site. Standard depths are 2, 4, 8, 20, and 40 inches.

Telemetry and Data Transmission

Data at SCAN sites are collected hourly and stored by a datalogger installed in an electronics enclosure. Depending on the location of the site, data are transmitted back to the Water and Climate Information System database using one of several telemetry systems:


Meteor Burst

Satellite (GOES, Iridium)

Related Information

North American Soil Moisture Database