Faculty Publications

Soil Moisture as an Indicator of Weather Extremes

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In this paper, we investigate floods and droughts in theUpper Mississippi basin over a 50-year period (1950–1999)using a hydrological model (Variable Infiltration CapacityModel – 3 Layer). Simulations have been carried outbetween January 1950 and December 1999 at daily timestep and 1/8 spatial resolution for the water budget and athourly time-step and 1 spatial resolution for the energybalance. This paper will provide valuable insights to theslow response components of the hydrological cycle and itsdiagnostic/predictive value in the case of floods anddroughts. The paper compares the use of the PalmerDrought Severity Index against the anomalies of the thirdlayer soil moisture for characterizing droughts and floods.Wavelet and coherency analysis is performed on the soilmoisture, river discharge, precipitation and PDSI time seriesconfirm our hypothesis of a strong relationship betweendroughts and the third layer soil moisture.


Lakshmi, V., Piechota, T., Narayan, U., & Tang, C. (2004). Soil moisture as an indicator of weather extremes. Geophysical Research Letters, 31 (L11401), 1-4.

© Geophysical Research Letters 2004, American Geophysical Union

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