This project aims to test the efficacy of a drone-mounted synthetic aperture radar to measure soil moisture.
  • Dates3 April 2023-28 March 2025
  • SponsorDouglas Bomford Trust
  • Funded£27,866
  • PartnersSurveyAR; Division of Plant Sciences, University of Missouri; Faculty of Natural Sciences, University of Stirling

Soil moisture is a critical factor in many aspects of agriculture, droughts, and flood mitigation. Adequate soil moisture is necessary for plant growth and plays a crucial role in ensuring sustainable agricultural production. In flood-prone areas, soil water holding capacity can help mitigate flooding by absorbing excess water and reducing runoff. Therefore, monitoring soil moisture is crucial to make informed decisions on irrigation and water management.

Synthetic aperture radar mounted on unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) can offer a scalable solution for soil moisture monitoring on vegetated slopes. UAV-RADAR technology promises high spatial and temporal resolution across field and catchment scales, enabling more precise understanding about the controls on soil moisture. To evaluate the accuracy of UAV-RADAR to measure soil moisture, this project will conduct proof-of-concept pilot experiments. These will provide essential data to validate the effectiveness of this technology and help refine it for more extensive use. The success of this project could pave the way for the development of a comprehensive soil moisture monitoring scheme.