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An Evaluation of Modeling Soil Moisture and Crop Growth at Fine Spatial Scales in the Mesa Verde Region, Southwestern Colorado

Author(s): Andrew Brown ; Lisa Nagaoka ; Feifei Pan ; Steve Wolverton

Year: 2016

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Summary

Soil moisture can have profound impacts on crop success and failure. Although soil moisture can be modeled at multiple spatial scales, most studies rely on remotely sensed data that are at resolutions of 1-km or greater, where soil moisture is averaged or interpolated within spatial units. However, crop growth can vary considerably across even small distances. The effects of soil moisture on growth variability at finer resolutions have not been thoroughly studied. Therefore, we are developing a hydrological model to calculate soil moisture at a 10-m resolution. In this study, we evaluate variability in soil moisture and its impact on crop growth to validate our model in a 15-m by 13-m experimental maize garden located at Crow Canyon Archaeological Center (CCAC) in southwestern Colorado. Soil moisture and temperature data were recorded from three sensors within the garden; in addition, Leaf Area Index and physical measurements were taken from the individual maize stalks over the course of one growing season. By evaluating the accuracy of modeled soil moisture at different scales in comparison to the field collected data, we can further refine and validate the model’s ability to generate an accurate representation of the potential for crop failure.


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An Evaluation of Modeling Soil Moisture and Crop Growth at Fine Spatial Scales in the Mesa Verde Region, Southwestern Colorado. Andrew Brown, Lisa Nagaoka, Feifei Pan, Steve Wolverton. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 404637)


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min long: -115.532; min lat: 30.676 ; max long: -102.349; max lat: 42.033 ;

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America